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Czech security group says HUAWEI, ZTE equipment 'might present a threat'

A cybersecurity watchdog group in the Czech Republic suggested that HUAWEI and ZTE networking equipment may not be safe to use.

Published onDecember 17, 2018

The HUAWEI logo.
  • The Czech National Cyber and Information Security Agency (NCISA) released a security report on HUAWEI and ZTE.
  • In the report, the NCISA says that using HUAWEI or ZTE equipment in state systems “might present a threat” to security.
  • Huawei, once again, vehemently denied its networking products are a security threat.

Today, a report from a Czech cybersecurity watchdog group recommended against using Huawei or ZTE software and equipment in state systems, via Reuters.

The Czech National Cyber and Information Security Agency (NCISA) said that “China’s laws … require private companies residing in China to cooperate with intelligence services, therefore introducing them into the key state systems might present a threat.”

The report is referencing the prevailing belief that HUAWEI and ZTE equipment could potentially come with a “back door” which would allow the Chinese government to spy on network activity. Both HUAWEI and ZTE deny these allegations.

HUAWEI troubles poised to land on US industry

Although the Czech Republic hasn’t issued any sort of decree against using HUAWEI or ZTE equipment yet, other countries have already done so, including the United States, Australia, New Zealand, and Japan.

In the U.S., in particular, HUAWEI and ZTE networking products are banned completely, and regulators are also pushing for friendly nations to enact their own bans.

In response to the Czech report, a HUAWEI spokesman said: “We categorically deny any suggestion that we pose a threat to national security. We call for NCISA to provide evidence instead of tarnishing HUAWEI’s reputation without any proof.”

“There are no laws or regulations in China to compel HUAWEI, or any other company, to install ‘mandatory back doors.’ HUAWEI has never received any such request from any government and we would never agree to it,” the spokesman said.

HUAWEI is the world’s biggest producer of telecom equipment. ZTE is also a significant player in the networking industry, but its recent legal troubles have set it back considerably in many ways. ZTE did not give a comment on the NCISA report.

Earlier this year, HUAWEI’s attempts to partner with a U.S. carrier to sell HUAWEI-branded smartphones fell through after the U.S. government intervened.

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