GCHQ: Chinese tech 'threats' must be understood

GCHQ: Chinese tech 'threats' must be understood


The UK's cyber-security agency is warning that Britain must understand the potential "opportunities and threats" of using Chinese technology.

GCHQ director Jeremy Fleming will give a rare speech on Monday emphasising the need for better cyber-security practices in the telecoms industry.

"It's a hugely complex strategic challenge," he will say.

The US is pressuring its allies to not use Chinese firm Huawei's technology to build new 5G networks.

Its officials are concerned that China could be using Huawei products to spy on other countries.

'Naive'

Most of the UK's mobile companies - Vodafone, EE and Three - have been working with Huawei on 5G, but they are awaiting the results of a government review, due in March or April, that will decide whether or not they'll be allowed to go ahead.

In December, MI6 chief Alex Younger raised questions over China's role in the UK tech sector, and a recent report from the Royal United Services Institute said it would be "naive" and "irresponsible" to allow Huawei access.

However, the National Cyber Security Centre - part of GCHQ - said last week said any risk posed by the company could be managed.

In his speech at an event in Singapore, Mr Fleming will emphasise that the government is concerned about balancing the supply chain and ensuring that there is diversity in the telecommunications equipment supplier market.

"We have to understand the opportunities and threats from China's technological offer - understand the global nature of supply chains and service provision irrespective of the flag of the supplier," he will say.

"Take a clear view on the implications of China's technological acquisition strategy in the West, and help our governments decide which parts of this expansion can be embraced, which need risk management, and which will always need a sovereign, or allied, solution."

He will add: "How we deal with it will be crucial for prosperity and security way beyond 5G contracts."

Stressing the need for stronger cyber-security across the telecoms sector, Mr Fleming will say: "Vulnerabilities can and will be exploited. But networks should be designed in a way that cauterises the damage."


Updated by: News Sources 2019-02-25 11:37 AM