The NCSC described its work to help safeguard the UK’s telecoms networks in January 2020. They also issued a series of technical recommendations and risk assessments for Huawei UK telecoms operators, as well as a blog post from the NCSC’s Technical Director outlining their reasoning. Recent global events, on the other hand, have shifted this counsel, as well as their recommendations to the UK government.
What has changed since then?
The US announced a new punishment- an update to the US direct product regulation and the Entity List, in the month of May 2020, restricting Huawei’s ability to create significant products using US technology or software even more. As a result, Huawei UK will have to make significant modifications to the way it designs and manufactures telecommunications devices.
What impact does the US announcement have on the United Kingdom?
Huawei is the world’s largest telecoms equipment producer no doubt. Huawei has been supplying UK telecoms companies for many years, in addition to creating smartphones and other consumer products. Huawei equipment is widely used in the UK’s telecoms networks. During that period of time, the NCSC and its predecessors have worked to make it assured that they get the most out of Huawei UK technology while keeping the UK safe and secure at the same time.
Huawei is unlikely to be allowed to continue to employ US technology and software in the design and manufacture of its products as a result of the new US sanctions announced in May 2020. The NCSC has examined the implications of these changes for the UK and no longer believes that the UK will be able to manage the security risks associated with employing affected Huawei technology in future 5G networks.
What exactly does this imply?
The NCSC’s investigation focuses solely on the Huawei equipment that has been used in the UK’s telecoms network. It has no bearing on Huawei products you use at home, such as smartphones, laptops, and tablets. However, the US declaration in May 2020 will have significant implications for your use of Huawei equipment that you should think about.
The NCSC is examining the impact on Huawei branded device users following modifications to US sanctions issued in August 2020. Some devices’ services and software upgrades may stop working as a result of the change in sanctions. Huawei product owners should continue to follow the Cyber Aware rules, which include smartphones, tablets, laptops, and other connected consumer devices as well. Look into the two following points.
- While updates are still available, update your devices.
- To ensure that you can access your data from other devices, enable backup.
If you use a personal Huawei device for work, talk to your boss about whether you should keep using it if it stops receiving security updates or accessing other services. Organizations that let employees access company data and apps using personal Huawei devices, including email, instant messaging, and office applications, should read our BYOD guidance. This will assist you in comprehending the hazards associated with employees utilizing devices that are no longer capable of receiving security updates. Furthermore, BYOD solutions may rely on a device’s access to Google’s Mobile Services; if that connection is lost, you may be unable to manage the device and its access to company data and applications.
What resources can we use to learn more?
For more information on what is changing and what it means for Huawei UK, see the NCSC Technical Director’s recent blog post. They have also issued the updated 5G recommendations and a study of the US sanctions’ impact in the United Kingdom for anyone who wants to go deeper into the technical aspects.