Connect with us


Trump Officials Warn That UK’s 5G Approach Imperils Security

The Trump administration has warned that the UK’s approach to building 5G mobile networks could jeopardize British national security, as the US pressures allies not to use equipment made by Huawei.

Senior US officials said on Monday that the UK’s method of testing the Chinese company’s equipment before installing it would not be enough to safeguard telecoms networks once the ultrafast next-generation systems begin to roll out.

The warning comes after the Financial Times revealed that British intelligence officials have concluded it is possible to limit the risks of using Huawei equipment in 5G networks. That conclusion could undermine months of lobbying by the US to persuade its allies to exclude the company altogether from 5G, for fear its equipment could be used by Beijing for spying.

One senior US official said that the British procedures had been sufficient to protect telecoms networks in the past. But because 5G is based on software, parts of the network can be altered once the equipment has already been tested and installed.

The person said: “One analogy that we can often use is, one minute you’re holding a 5G coffee cup that is transmitting back telemetric data on what the temperature is what the actual liquid is inside. And then the next moment that object can turn into something radically different.

“While a huge opportunity, it is also deeply concerning to us from the perspective of national security.”

Asked specifically about the British National Cyber Security Centre, which tests Huawei equipment, the person said: “The mandate that the UK and their Huawei oversight centre [the NCSC] has is a purely technical mandate about looking at a piece of equipment that is sitting in front of you.

“Ours is a much broader question about how trust is changing in the way in which 5G networks will work in the future. Right now, back doors exist by definition, that’s how the manufacturer runs the network.

“We understand that there are a number of different opinions about that. That’s the concern we have and we are making that very clear to our partners.”

The NCSC, part of the UK signals intelligence agency GCHQ, declined to comment on the remarks made by the US government official.

However, in a recent speech to a cyber security conference in Brussels, Ciaran Martin, the chief executive of the NCSC, said: “Huawei’s presence is subject to detailed, formal oversight, led by the NCSC. Because of our 15 years of dealings with the company and 10 years of a formally agreed mitigation strategy which involves the detailed provision of information, we have a wealth of understanding of the company.

“We also have strict controls for how Huawei is deployed. It is not in any sensitive networks — including those of the government. Its kit is part of a balanced supply chain with other suppliers.”

US officials have in recent months traveled around the world urging other countries to exclude Huawei from their 5G networks — even though the US has not totally done so.

On Monday a senior US official said US intelligence “experts” had held a range of meetings with Brazilian representatives visiting Washington this week to discuss security concerns.

The official said the conversations focused on the “dangerous” consequences of Brazil using Huawei equipment.

Major US telecoms companies do not use equipment supplied by the Chinese manufacturer because any provider who does so is banned from securing government contracts. This has not stopped smaller, rural telecoms companies continuing to buy from Huawei, however.

Some members of the Trump administration have urged the president to sign an order that would effectively ban US telecoms providers from using Huawei equipment — though the order was unlikely to mention Huawei or China by name, according to officials.

Donald Trump has appeared reluctant to do so, however, suggesting that his approach to the company could be determined by the ongoing US-China trade talks.

The president said at a press conference last month: “I don’t want to block out anybody if I can help it. If there is a security issue, we don’t have a choice. It is something we will talk about, but I want fair competition.”―Financial Times

Click to comment

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply

Copyright © 2024 Communications Today

error: Content is protected !!