Huawei could pose long-term national security risks, UK watchdog says

A U.K. watchdog is raising concerns that the use of Huawei Technologies equipment in the country’s telecom network could pose long-term national security risks, according to a report published Thursday.

Huawei – one of the world’s largest telecommunications firms -- has faced international scrutiny over its close ties to the Chinese government. The Trump administration is seeking to persuade allies to block the use of the company’s equipment in pending fifth-generation wireless networks.

While some, like Australia, have implemented measures to ban Huawei, others -- including the U.K. and Germany -- are still weighing whether to take action. The new analysis from the U.K.’s National Cyber Security Centre’s Huawei Oversight Board, however, could renew calls for the government to take action.

The board can “only provide limited assurance that all risks to UK national security from Huawei’s involvement in the UK’s critical networks can be sufficiently mitigated long-term,” it wrote. “It will be difficult to appropriately risk-manage future products in the context of UK deployments, until the underlying defects in Huawei’s software engineering and cyber security processes are remediated.”

To mitigate the risks, the board said “significant work” will be required, noting that the current software provides “limited technical assurance in the security risk management.”

“Even this limited assurance is possible only on the basis that…the defects in Huawei equipment are fairly well understood in the UK,” the report reads.

The U.S. recently banned federal agencies from using products from the company. Huawei is suing the government over the statute, passed as part of last year's defense spending authorization law.

The Trump administration also previously hit the firm with a slew of criminal charges related to the attempted theft of trade secrets and violations of sanctions against Iran.


Huawei executives have attempted to discredit the White House campaign, arguing it's over fear that the National Security Agency's information collection efforts would be hindered if more countries use the firm's equipment.

“We have been trusted for the last 30 years in 170 countries,” Chief Security Officer Andy Purdy told Fox Business recently. “There have been no major cybersecurity incidents involving Huawei in the world.”