For a long time now, Huawei Technologies Co. have been accused of planting backdoors into their equipment to enable them to steal trade secrets from a business partner and to enable Chinese spying through the telecom networks it’s built across the West.
Now Vodafone Group Plc has acknowledged to Bloomberg that it found vulnerabilities going back years with equipment supplied by Huawei for the carrier’s Italian business.
Huawei, the world’s biggest producer of telecoms equipment, is under intense scrutiny after the United States told allies not to use its technology because of fears it could be a vehicle for Chinese spying. Huawei has categorically denied this.
Huawei said it was made aware of historical vulnerabilities in 2011 and 2012 and that they had been addressed at the time.
Australia and New Zealand have already blocked telecoms companies from using Huawei equipment in 5G networks, while Canada is reviewing its relationship with the Chinese telecoms firm.
The issues in Italy identified in the Bloomberg story were all resolved and date back to 2011 and 2012.
The ‘backdoor’ that Bloomberg refers to is Telnet, which is a protocol that is commonly used by many vendors in the industry for performing diagnostic functions. It would not have been accessible from the internet
Bloomberg is incorrect in saying that this ‘could have given Huawei unauthorised access to the carrier’s fixed-line network in Italy.
Several European telecoms operators are considering removing Huawei’s equipment from their networks.