Wednesday 9 October 2019 5:16 pm

EU warns of cyber risks from state-backed 5G suppliers

The EU has warned of increased cybersecurity attacks from state-backed 5G suppliers in an apparent toughening of rhetoric against Chinese tech firm Huawei.

In a report published today, member states said it was crucial to assess the risks posed by firms with a large market share in the bloc.

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While the report does not name any specific countries or companies, it is likely to be linked to Chinese tech giant Huawei.

“Among the various potential actors, non-EU states or state-backed are considered as the most serious ones and the most likely to target 5G networks,” the European Commission said in a statement.

“In this context of increased exposure to attacks facilitated by suppliers, the risk profile of individual suppliers will become particularly important, including the likelihood of the supplier being subject to interference from a non-EU country,” they said.

The US government has moved to ban Huawei over spying concerns, and has urged its allies to follow suit.

Huawei, which has always denied allegations of spying, welcomed the report and said it would work with its Euroepan 5G partners. 

“This exercise is an important step toward developing a common approach to cybersecurity and delivering safe networks for the 5G era,” a Huawei spokesman said.

“We are pleased to note that the EU delivered on its commitment to take an evidence-based approach, thoroughly analysing risks rather than targeting specific countries or actors.”

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EE and Vodafone have already launched 5G networks in the UK using Huawei equipment, though the government is yet to finalise its policy towards the Chinese firm.

 Alex Sinclair, chief technology officer of the GSMA, a global trade group for the mobile industry, said: “The Commission’s 5G assessment recognises security isn’t just a supplier issue. We all have a role to play – from manufacturers to operators to consumers – and we are taking responsibility for our part in the security chain seriously.”

Main image credit: Getty