Don't Worry So Much About Huawei, Says NCSC

By Holly Brockwell on at

The UK's National Cyber Security Centre has decided that if there is a risk in using Huawei equipment in our 5G networks, it can be managed.

Much has been said about potential risks of using Huawei kit for mass communication networks, with countries including the UK, US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand weighing in on whether the Chinese company poses a threat to national security. Australia and NZ have actually banned Huawei from contributing to their 5G network, and the US has got a whole legal beef going on with the company.

Even Oxford University has cut ties with the company in recent months.

Huawei, meanwhile, says this is all "pride and prejudice" and that it isn't doing any spying, although that latter announcement was somewhat undermined by the inclusion of praise for Donald Trump as "a great president."

So far, Huawei has been quite involved in the UK's 5G preparations, with major networks including EE, Three and Vodafone working with the company on their 5G plans. However, there's a government decision due around April to say whether or not Huawei will be barred from contributing equipment to the UK's 5G network.

In the meantime, the National Cyber Security Centre (part of GCHQ, who can't really throw stones when it comes to sneaky spying) has concluded that if there is a risk, it can be handled.

As reported by the Financial Times, the decision hasn't been made public yet (although we'd be really interested to read the data it's based on) but is likely to "carry great weight" with decision-makers. The FT's source comments:

"Other nations can make the argument that if the British are confident of mitigation against national security threats then they can also reassure their publics and the US administration that they are acting in a prudent manner in continuing to allow their telecommunications service providers to use Chinese components as long as they take the kinds of precautions recommended by the British."

It's kind of nice to hear we still have some influence in the world.

Former GCHQ head Robert Hannigan recently commented to the same paper that the organisation had "never found evidence of malicious Chinese state cyber activity through Huawei," dismissing the 5G worries as "nonsense."

This is good news for anyone who uses a Huawei phone, because perhaps now people will stop saying "lol your phone is reporting to the Chinese government" while waving around their unlocked, never-updated phone with the same password for every app.