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GUEST TEST: Why it’s worrying that China has integrated Huawei switches into telecommunications around the world

By on September 8, 2021 0

In the previous discussion, China’s 14th Five-Year Plan was summarized to capture the relevant aspects of Dual Traffic, Digital Silk Road (DSR) and Belt Road Initiative (BRI) which aim to advance China as an economic, technological and foreign country. political power. Both of these initiatives are well-funded, thoughtful, and strategic in their attempts to expand influence and widespread dependence on Chinese products.

Related: China’s 5-year digital plans

The first blog ended with a strong message of encouragement for the United States to develop its own creative cybersecurity strategy building on strategic goals with the economy and public policy to create a sustainable and secure cybersystem. in line with Western ethical standards, our free market philosophy and democratic principles. traditions.

The FAC Extraction and Replacement Model was introduced, by title only, to provide an overview of how the United States should, and is beginning to, take action to counter Chinese technology intrusively within our critical infrastructure. To understand our options in this fight, however, we must first understand who we are up against.

Huawei Technologies, or Huawei for short, is a Chinese telecommunications company that has received tens of billions of dollars in financial assistance from the Chinese government on a scale of subsidies that overshadows the cash receipts of its closest competitors. To fuel their rise to the top of the global telecommunications landscape, Huawei had access to up to $ 75 billion in state support as it went from a little-known provider of telephone switches to the world’s largest company. telecommunications equipment in the world (Wall Street Journal).

Subsidies aside, since 1998 Huawei has received around $ 16 billion in loans, export credits, and other forms of financing from Chinese banks for corporate operations and customers.

As noted in the previous blog post, Brazil was originally strongly opposed to adopting Huawei technology into its infrastructure until the country turned desperate amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Huawei executives arranged for millions of doses of the vaccine to be sent from China to Brazil, and to repay China for its help, Brazil relaxed its initial reservations about their safety and instead allowed Huawei to participate in the their 5G bidding processes, which they won.

Many African countries that rely heavily on Huawei and ZTE equipment seem to have an equally relaxed view of security concerns. In 2018, Western media reported that the African Union (AU) – for which Huawei had provided telecommunications equipment – had seen its servers compromised, which resulted in an information leak to China for five years. Nonetheless, the AU President joined with Huawei in exposing allegations of espionage and in 2018 signed a renewed agreement with Huawei (The Eurasia Group, 2020).

Sadly, Brazil, several African countries and many allies of the United States are just a few examples among many that show Huawei’s astounding power and aggressive ability to influence countries that initially oppose their tactics, but end up falling victim to their immeasurable wallet or their power to deliver a desperately needed need. merchandise.

A report published by the Chairman of the Senate Foreign Policy Committee, Robert Menendez (D-NJ) in July 2020, said: “The United States is now on the verge of losing the future of the cyber domain to China. If China continues to perfect the tools of digital authoritarianism and is able to implement them effectively both domestically and abroad, then China, not the United States and its allies, will shape the digital environment. “

Huawei’s global influence and staggering integration make it one of the top US targets for immediate action.

The Huawei technology in our allies’ infrastructure is unsettling, but understanding that Huawei is here in the United States is far more worrying. The privileged deals Huawei has been successful in securing with rural telecom operators have strengthened their influence and deep integration into our critical infrastructure, making their presence a direct and significant threat to national security.

If the United States were to start controlling damage in the name of our national security loopholes and oversights, Huawei would certainly be a logical place to start.

In May 2020, the United States government finally shut down Huawei’s activities in the United States and placed the company on the Commerce Department’s “entity list”, which places restrictions on U.S. commercial engagement. . Commerce placed Huawei on this list after being indicted by the US Department of Justice for theft of trade secrets, attempted theft of trade secrets, conspiracy, electronic fraud and obstruction of justice, as well as bank fraud and conspiracy in view. committing bank fraud, conspiracy to commit money laundering and violations of the international emergency powers law by illegally helping Iran evade sanctions.

About a year later, on July 13, 2021, CNBC reported that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted unanimously to finalize a $ 1.9 billion program to “rip and replace” Huawei’s equipment and ZTE, two Chinese telecommunications companies that have been marked as national security risks by the US government (Feiner & Macias, 2021). The program will subsidize the transition of rural American telecommunications companies away from using Chinese products to secure American networks (Feiner & Marcias, 2021).

The United States may facilitate the FCC’s Rip and Replace program due to the infrastructure framework and economy. Our 5G technology is not built directly from our 3 and 4G technology, so modifying our infrastructure is expensive but not structurally impossible. Additionally, the number of vendors using Huawei and ZTE technologies is estimated to be in the millions, which is a manageable amount to focus on economically.

Our allies, however, have a much more complicated relationship with their Chinese suppliers.

The UK is arguably America’s most trusted ally. UK-based Vodafone is the second largest telecommunications system in the world (after China Telecom) and has used Huawei products for years.

Reiterate

In a April 2020 Essay on Lawfare, Joachim Reiter of Vodafone said: “European carriers and governments are working hard to find the best way to reconcile market conditions and EU ambitions for 5G implementation with Washington’s perspective on the supply chain security. The decision to continue using Huawei arose out of practicality, given the past use of Huawei by Europe and the lack of options when it comes to suppliers and the prevailing market environment… Unlike States United, European operators have long installed Huawei products on 3G and 4G networks. … Taking them out of 5G means taking them out of 4G, etc.… ”(Lawfare Blog, 2020).

In July 2020, at least one European country, the United Kingdom – which is no longer a member of the European Union – accepted a compromise position agreeing to stop buying Huawei equipment by the end of the year and remove Huawei equipment from its network in seven years. (traditionally the typical length of time telephone companies exchange technologies).

Krantzler

While there may be some follow-up by other major European countries, however, at the time of this writing they have not followed the UK’s lead and made it into the post- pandemic can be extremely difficult.

While “tear and replace” may be a short-term solution to a limited number of digital threats that China poses, it can hardly be considered a cost-effective solution. Moreover, while the recognition of the potentially significant impact of Chinese control of Western telecommunications in the digital age is welcome, the American response has been limited, gradual, reactive, and largely unsuccessful.

We need a digital strategy as thoughtful, strategic and intentional as China’s digital strategy which poses a significant threat to national security.

About the essayist: Sarina Krantzler is a research associate at the Internet Security Alliance, a business group whose members include information security executives from Fortune 100 companies. This essay was originally published on the ISA Daily Cyber ​​Security Blog.

*** This is a Syndicated Security Bloggers Network blog by The last watchdog written by bacohido. Read the original post on: https://www.lastwatchdog.com/guest-essay-why-its-worrisome-that-china-has-integrated-huawei-switches-into-telecoms-worldwide/


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