Huawei: It’s easier to bribe provider’s staff than installing a backdoor in network equipment

Huawei believes that installing a backdoor in network equipment that can be used in various global communication networks and technologies requires considerable effort.

[dropcap]A[/dropcap]ccording to John Suffolk, cybersecurity and privacy specialist at Huawei Technologies, in order for backdoors to work, it is necessary to consider a wide range of products and services, as well as technologies spanning many years and different configurations.

John Suffolk

John Suffolk

“The networks are not the same. When an organization creates a network, its configuration is different, and it uses equipment from different network providers. Even if someone tried to create a backdoor, this does not mean that it will work. It is necesary to know the architecture of the target client, how to bypass its control, but there is no such possibility,” – said Suffolk in an interview with ZDNet.

Commenting on allegations of introducing Huawei backdoors into its equipment at the request of the Chinese government, Suffolk laughed that it’s sometimes easier to bribe someone on the operator’s network to achieve this.

Read also: Huawei accuses US in cyberattacks and threats to company employees

“When you work out all the probability, it’s probably simpler to bribe somebody in a carrier network to do it. You’ll have a higher probability of success”, — John Suffolk said.

According to him, even if Beijing really asked to build backdoors, it would be impossible to make them work.

Huawei is a provider of equipment, not services, and is not a telecom operator; the company does not have access to a telecommunications network, Suffolk said. Providers would also refuse services, as the Chinese company is under the scrutiny of the United States and other countries.

Suffolk also noted that software flaws were identified because Huawei was transparent and, thanks to its cybersecurity assessment centers, allowed governments and customers to evaluate and test their products for any flaws.

Much of the paranoia had been stoked by Huawei’s increasing footprint in 5G, which fuelled concerns especially amongst governments worried about how 5G could impact the security of their national infrastructure.

[box]However, despite all the statements made by Huawei about improving device security, earlier audits showed that the situation only “worsens with time.” For example, as research by Finite State has shown, firmware on more than half of Huawei’s network devices contains at least one potential backdoor.[/box]

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