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April 30, 2019

US claims Huawei poses ‘unacceptable risk’ anywhere in 5G network

AFP
April 30, 2019

WASHINGTON: The United States has delivered a fresh warning that there is no level of safe involvement by the Chinese tech giant Huawei in the 5G networks of Western powers.

Robert Strayer, the deputy assistant secretary for cyber at the State Department, said any role for the firm in building a nation’s 5G network posed an “unacceptable risk” to security.His comments came after Theresa May was reported to have given the green light for Huawei to provide “non core” elements of the UK network, overriding concerns of a number of senior ministers.

In an online briefing for journalists, Strayer said that even allowing an “untrustworthy” operator into the “edges” of the network created risks of espionage or sabotage.

He said the US would have to reassess its intelligence-sharing arrangements with any country which allowed such a firm to become involved in building its network. “Having potentially compromised equipment and software provided by vendors in any part of that network is an unacceptable risk,” he said.“It is our position in the United States is that there is no way that we can effectively mitigate the risk to having an untrustworthy vendor in the edge of the network.

“We should be concerned about all parts of the 5G network. No part of the 5G network should have parts or software coming from a vendor that could be under the control of an authoritarian government.”

He said the increasing use of software in the new networks for tasks previously carried out by computer hardware increased the “attack area” for attempted interference, while 5G would create “vast” quantities of new data.

“The temptation will be there to come after that data and use it for illicit purposes,” he said.“What we really have here is a loaded gun. It is something Western democracies who value human rights should think very carefully about if they want to give that to an authoritarian regime with very different values about the uses of data.” He added: “If other countries allow untrusted vendors to build out and and become the vendors for their 5G networks we will have to reassess the ability for us to share information and be interconnected with them in the ways that we are today.“Exactly how that will be done will depend on the risk of the equipment that is put into the networks.”