Canada should oust Huawei, say se­cu­rity ex­perts

Chi­nese tele­com al­legedly hacked a for­eign net­work and shared in­for­ma­tion

StarMetro Vancouver - - VANCOUVER - ME­LANIE GREEN

Ex­perts are warn­ing Canada that work­ing with Chi­nese telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions gi­ant Huawei is a grave “mis­take” after an ex­plo­sive Aus­tralian re­port last week al­leged the com­pany had hacked a for­eign net­work and shared the in­for­ma­tion with Bei­jing.

The Chi­nese multi­na­tional is cur­rently in part­ner­ship with Cana­dian uni­ver­si­ties across the coun­try as well as com­pa­nies such as Telus, with whom it is de­vel­op­ing 5G net­works in Canada. Ac­cord­ing to The Week­end Aus­tralian, se­cret in­tel­li­gence re­ports show Huawei of­fi­cials were pres­sured at some point in the past two years to pro­vide pass­word and net­work de­tails to in­fil­trate a for­eign sys­tem. It is un­clear where the pres­sure came from.

But sev­eral al­lied coun­tries have voiced con­cerns about the com­pany be­ing a high­risk se­cu­rity threat.

“While the in­sights of our al­lies can’t be shared for na­tional se­cu­rity rea­sons, the Cana­dian govern­ment and Cana­di­ans alike should be le­git­i­mately mind­ful of the warn­ings is­sued by the Aus­tralian and Amer­i­can govern­ment,” Christo­pher Par­sons, a cy­ber­se­cu­rity ex­pert with Cit­i­zen Lab in the Munk School at the Uni­ver­sity of Toronto, said. “Tak­ing their coun­sel very se­ri­ously is an ap­pro­pri­ate de­ci­sion.”

And given Huawei’s ex­ten­sive part­ner­ships with Cana­dian in­sti­tu­tions to de­velop 5G in­fra­struc­ture — from mil­lions of dol­lars of re­search grants at ma­jor uni­ver­si­ties of­ten with rights to in­tel­lec­tual prop­erty to agree­ments with large na­tional telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions com­pa­nies — Par­sons said there are “very good” rea­sons for those con­cerns. The com­pany has the ad­van­tage of sell­ing their prod­ucts at a “re­duced rate” com­pared to West­ern com­peti­tors, he added.

“That has meant that in a time of bud­get cuts and crises, Huawei is a more cost-ef­fec­tive solution to achieve sim­i­lar tech­no­log­i­cal ob­jec­tives with re­duced bud­gets,” Par­sons ex­plained.

Starmetro reached out to Huawei five times for com­ment but re­ceived no re­sponse.

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Huawei has an ex­ten­sive part­ner­ships with Cana­dian in­sti­tu­tions to de­velop 5G in­fra­struc­ture in the coun­try.

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