Chinese tech giant Huawei could be banned in parts of the UK because its “shoddy” engineering practices create cyber security issues.
According to Dr Ian Levy, technical director of the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), in a bid to mitigate the risk of cyber attacks the UK may ban Huawei’s equipment in sensitive areas such as Westminster.
He told BBC’s Panorama programme: “The security in Huawei is like nothing else – it’s engineering like it’s back in the year 2000 – it’s very, very shoddy and leads to cyber security issues that we then have to manage long term.” He also made the point that the real risk from Huawei was incompetence, rather than espionage. “It’s just poor engineering.”
The comments followed the NCSC’s conclusion that it could provide only “limited assurances” that risks to UK national security could be mitigated.
In the next few weeks the UK government will publish a report outlining its verdict on the role Huawei can play in the country’s 5G network.
Huawei has accepted there are issues with its security, but denies its technology would ever be used for spying. The company has pledged to spend at least $2bn (£1.5bn) to address the UK’s concerns.
But Levy said UK spies are not reassured by these plans. “As we say in the report, we’ve seen nothing to give us any confidence that the transformation programme is going to do what they say it’s going to do,” he said.
While the UK has not yet reached a verdict on the issue of Huawei’s technology, the US has not only effectively banned telecoms firms from doing business with the Chinese company, it has also urged its allies to ban Huawei, warning that a failure to do so could compromise intelligence-sharing agreements.
In related news, MIT has cut ties with Huawei and ZTE amid security concerns.