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Huawei seeks to counter security concerns

Huawei Australia's chairman addresses company's NBN ban

Huawei Australia’s chairman has said a national cyber security centre should be built to test technologies for infrastructure projects, such as the National Broadband Network (NBN).

The company's proposal is in response to a recent US congressional report that issued a warning about potential backdoors that could be exploited by Chinese state agencies and the ban on Huawei participation in construction of the NBN.

In a speech to the National Press Club today, John Lord said developing effective cyber security frameworks is not just a challenge for Huawei and it should be approached collaboratively.

“Nobody has got it right yet, and as the ICT industry continues to develop so rapidly, it will continue to be a challenge for agencies to keep up with the pace of change…” he said.

“Huawei is proposing the establishment of a national cyber security evaluation centre, to test the security credentials of technologies being implemented into critical infrastructure projects.”

The centre would include testing products and equipment for critical infrastructure projects, including the NBN.

The centre could be funded by vendors and operated by Australian citizens who had passed security clearance, Lord said. He said the cost of setting up such a centre would depend on the centre’s level of sophistication and that Huawei had not yet spoken to other non-Chinese vendors about whether they would behind such a project.

Huawei was banned from participating in the construction of the NBN because of security concerns.

Lord said that while Huawei was “disappointed” that it was unable to participate in the NBN, “we have accepted the government’s decision and we have moved on”.

“Of course we stand at the ready if the situation changes, but we respect the government’s right to make such determinations,” Lord said.

Lord took also a swipe at the US government’s House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence which recommended US telcos avoid deploying technology from Chinese vendors such as Huawei and ZTE because they may pose a security threat.

“We sincerely hope that in Australia, we do not allow sober debate on cyber security to become distorted the way it has in the US,” Lord said.

“The US committee report must be called for what it really is – protectionism, not security.”

Some observers have sided with Huawei, stating that the security concerns are paranoia and that the company is too big to risk its business this way.

Follow Stephanie McDonald on Twitter: @stephmcdonald0

Follow Computerworld Australia on Twitter: @ComputerworldAU

Join the CIO Australia group on LinkedIn. The group is open to CIOs, IT Directors, COOs, CTOs and senior IT managers.

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Comments

Mic

1

LOL, You've got to be kidding...
So the chinese state owned company banned from constucting the NBN (For good reason), now wants to build a center to test and investigate all the hardware that goes into building said network.
Sure, why don't we hand you a great big network map with all the soft spots plastered with target symbols ?

Granted its no more risky then using hardware sourced from the good old USofA, but I'd much rather have the Americans sifting through our personal information then the Chinese, I'm sure the US already do it anyway.

Clive

2

The Aus government gets the source code so that asio and the federal police can put a backdoor in, instead of the Chinese. China is where most of the hardware is made these days if they wanted something in there more than likely it's already been done, just not on a national level.

Tony Hogben

3

....yes we have always seen China as a threat......hordes of red communists, waiting to attack us, we were told when I was a kid........
.....Well they did not attack Iraq or Afghanistan, we did....
.....something is not quite right here.???

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