Tuesday 20 August 2019

Vodafone finds hidden 'backdoors' in Huawei technology

Huawei's factory campus in Dongguan, Guangdong province, China. UK-based Vodafone has apparently discovered hidden “backdoors” in Huawei equipment. Photo: Reuters
Huawei's factory campus in Dongguan, Guangdong province, China. UK-based Vodafone has apparently discovered hidden “backdoors” in Huawei equipment. Photo: Reuters

Sean Keane

Vodafone has apparently discovered hidden "backdoors" in Huawei equipment as far back as 2011.

The UK-based company found vulnerabilities in routers and other equipment that could have given the Chinese company unauthorised access to its network in Italy, Bloomberg reported.

Both Vodafone and Huawei told Bloomberg these vulnerabilities were addressed in 2011 and 2012.

However, it was reported the vulnerabilities remained after that and could also be found in Vodafone's UK, German, Spanish and Portuguese businesses, citing anonymous sources. Vodafone apparently kept using Huawei equipment because it was competitively priced.

Vodafone disputed the report in an emailed statement, saying the "backdoor" mentioned is a protocol used to perform diagnostic functions and wouldn't have been accessible from the internet.

"In addition, we have no evidence of any unauthorised access. This was nothing more than a failure to remove a diagnostic function after development," the spokesperson wrote. "The issues were identified by independent security testing, initiated by Vodafone as part of our routine security measures, and fixed at the time by Huawei."

Huawei mirrored this statement, noting that it addressed the "historical vulnerabilities" in 2011 and 2012.

"Software vulnerabilities are an industry-wide challenge," a spokesperson said.

The story comes as China urges Britain to let Huawei play a role in developing its 5G network, even as the US pressures its European allies not to adopt Huawei's 5G equipment.

US officials have said the gear could be used to spy for China. Huawei denies this.

Irish Independent

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