Further significant issues in Huawei’s technology pose new risks to the UK’s telecommunication networks, a report by security authorities has warned.
Oversight body the Huawei Cyber Security Evaluation Centre (HCSEC), which includes officials from GCHQ’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), said that the Chinese telecommunications giant had made “no material progress” to address problems raised in its report last year.
The development comes amid concerns about the company’s involvement in 5G telecoms infrastructure because of claims the firm could be compelled to assist in Chinese state intelligence work, something Huawei has repeatedly denied.
“Further significant technical issues have been identified in Huawei’s engineering processes, leading to new risks in the UK telecommunications networks,” the report said.
“No material progress has been made by Huawei in the remediation of the issues reported last year, making it inappropriate to change the level of assurance from last year or to make any comment on potential future levels of assurance.”
It also casts doubt on Huawei’s ability to address issues, stating that it will be “difficult to appropriately risk-manage future products in the context of UK deployments, until Huawei’s software engineering and cybersecurity processes are remediated”.
However, it goes on to say that the concerns relate to “basic engineering competence and cyber security hygiene” and that the NCSC does not believe the defects are as a result of Chinese state interference.
Responding to the claims, Huawei said it understands the problems raised and will “take them very seriously”.
“A high-level plan for the programme has been developed and we will continue to work with UK operators and the NCSC during its implementation to meet the requirements created as cloud, digitisation and software-defined everything become more prevalent,” a spokesman said.
In July, Huawei said it would “actively improve”, after the board’s report at the time said its technical processes “fall short of industry good practice”.
Last month, GCHQ head Jeremy Fleming warned that a drive by Chinese companies to become involved in the Western telecoms sector represents “a hugely complex technological challenge”.
Labour’s shadow cabinet office minister Jo Platt: “Today’s damning report provides yet another reminder that the Tories have failed to get a grip on cyber security. As a final decision on Huawei’s involvement in future UK 5G networks moves closer, the government must urgently answer questions as to how they will ensure the security and integrity of our telecoms networks.”