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Cyber security expert cautions PH telcos amid Huawei crackdown

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Tuesday, May 21st, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – Major telecommunication companies in the Philippines should exercise caution amid the ban imposed by the United States (US) on Chinese tech giant Huawei, a cybersecurity expert said.

The US last week barred American firms from dealing with Huawei without a government license, in a latest blow against China amid escalating trade war.

The US accused Huawei of posing an international security threat, saying the telecom company is being used by China for surveillance and to “spy” on Americans.

Huawei, the world’s biggest supplier of telecommunications equipment, gets critical technology and components from a number of US firms for its devices.

On Sunday, news emerged that Google will comply with a US government order and suspended business with Huawei that requires the transfer of hardware, software and technical services except those publicly available via open source licensing.

Reports said the move will render Google services inaccessible on Huawei smartphones that run on Android. Future versions of Huawei mobile devices will also lose access to popular services, such as Google Play Store, Gmail and YouTube apps.

In a statement, Android clarified that existing Huawei devices can still have access to Google services.

READ: Existing Huawei devices safe from Google app restrictions—Android

Local telecommunication companies, in a separate statement, also assured its subscribers that existing Huawei handsets and devices will continue to function normally on their network.

READ: Purchased Huawei products will function properly on our network – PLDT

But cyber security expert Roselle Reig said the ongoing crackdown and increasing number of countries banning Huawei should alarm local telcos.

“They need to be cautious because it seems there a lot of countries that are against Huawei. Our Telcos should listen and be aware of what is happening outside the country and to safeguard our Huawei users,” she said.

Reig also stressed that an intensive study should be conducted to determine the implications of the issue to the national security should spying allegations against Huawei are proven to be true.

The US State Department earlier accused the Tech Giant of sharing some vital information to their clients in the Chinese government.

“Should there be backdoor access that could spy the device or Huawei devices can be used to spy the government or communication (system) in the country, it’s a big threat to the security of every Filipino and Internet user,” she said.

Reig also expressed fear that the processes of systems in terms of transportation, electricity and banking, among others may be put in danger due to cyber hacking.

On the part of Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT), acting secretary Eliseo Rio Jr. said the US blacklist on Huawei would not affect its policy of allowing private telcos choose their equipment supplier.

Telcos are also required by the government to provide assurance that their networks will not pose any threat to national security.

“If it does, if an incident happens, then they can lose their business, if their network has been the cause of breach that endangers our national security,” said DICT Acting Secretary Eliseo Rio Jr.

Despite the ban, Huawei assured to keep sending software updates to its devices for the next three months after receiving a temporary license until August 19, 2019.

READ: U.S. temporarily eases trade restrictions vs Huawei

The US government also temporarily eased restrictions on Huawei for 90 days to minimize disruption for customers and to allow telcos relying on the Chinese firm to make other arrangements. (with details from April Cenedoza)

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Huawei asks U.S. court to declare defence bill ‘unconstitutional’

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Wednesday, May 29th, 2019

Huawei. REUTERS/Aly Song/File Photo

China’s Huawei Technologies Co Ltd said on Wednesday (May 29) that it has filed a motion for summary judgement in its lawsuit against the U.S. government, in the telecoms equipment maker’s latest attempt to fight sanctions from Washington that threaten to push it out of global markets.

The motion filed late on Tuesday (May 28) in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas asks to declare the 2019 National Defence Authorization Act (NDAA) unconstitutional, in an update to the lawsuit against the act that the Chinese company started in March.

“We believe that U.S. politicians are using cyber security as an excuse to gain public support for actions that are designed to achieve other goals. These actions will do nothing to make networks more secure,” said Huawei chief legal officer Song Liuping, during a briefing held for media in Huawei’s Shenzhen headquarters.

The NDAA bill, passed into law by the U.S. Congress last summer, places a broad ban on federal agencies and their contractors from using Huawei equipment on national security grounds, citing the company’s ties with the Chinese government.

Huawei has repeatedly denied it is controlled by the Chinese government, military or intelligence services.

The world’s largest telecom network gear maker has since faced even greater sanctions as the U.S. commerce department on May 16 put the firm on a trade blacklist that bans companies from doing business with Huawei, in a move which immediately disrupted the global tech sector. (REUTERS)

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Chip designer ARM halts work with Huawei after U.S. ban

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Thursday, May 23rd, 2019

Courtesy : Reuters

British chip designer ARM has halted relations with Huawei in order to comply with a U.S. blockade of the company, potentially crippling the Chinese company’s ability to make new chips for its future smartphones.

Huawei, in common with Apple Inc and chipmakers such as Qualcomm, uses ARM blueprints to design the processors that power its smartphones. It also licenses graphics technology from the Cambridge-based company.

Huawei said it valued its close relationships with its partners, but it recognised the pressure some of them are under “as a result of politically motivated decisions”.

The United States blocked Huawei from buying U.S. goods last week, jeopardising ties with Alphabet Inc’s Google, which provides the Android operating system and services like Gmail and Google Maps, as well as hardware partners such as ARM.

The U.S. government temporarily eased restrictions on Huawei on Tuesday, granting it a licence to buy U.S. goods until Aug. 19, meaning that updates of Google apps can continue until then.

The BBC reported earlier on Wednesday that ARM, which is owned by Japan’s Softbank, had instructed employees to halt “all active contracts, support entitlements, and any pending engagements” with Huawei after the United States added Huawei to a list of companies with which U.S. firms could not do business.

ARM said in an internal company memo that its designs contained technology of U.S. origin, the BBC reported.

It told staff they were no longer allowed to “provide support, delivery technology (whether software, code, or other updates), engage in technical discussions, or otherwise discuss technical matters” with Huawei, according to the memo seen by the BBC.

Huawei’s international partners are moving to distance themselves from the Chinese company until there is clarity over its relationship with U.S. technology partners that provide the apps and services that are crucial for consumers.

British mobile operators EE and Vodafone both said on Wednesday they had dropped Huawei smartphones from the imminent launch range of their 5G networks. (REUTERS)

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Huawei crackdown could damage consumer confidence in Chinese brand – analyst

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Tuesday, May 21st, 2019

Courtesy : Reuters

The lack of access to Google services on Huawei smartphones could result in a loss of consumer confidence outside of China, chief of research at CCS Insight Ben Wood said on Monday (May 20), after news emerged that Google would comply with a U.S. order barring the Chinese company from updates to its Android operating system.

Google suspended business with Huawei that requires the transfer of hardware, software, and technical services except those publicly available via open source licensing on Sunday (May 19), in a blow to the Chinese company the U.S. government has sought to blacklist around the world.

The suspension could hobble Huawei’s smartphone business outside of China as the tech giant will immediately lose access to updates to Google’s Android operating system.

“This is a bombshell because it affects the devices, where irrespective of the problems they have had so far, the phones have kept selling. Huawei needs this to be resolved really quickly to make sure it doesn’t lose all that great momentum that it has got in the marketplace” Wood said.

Future versions of Huawei smartphones that run on Android will also lose access to popular services, including the Google Play Store and Gmail and YouTube apps.

Holders of current Huawei smartphones with Google apps will continue to be able to use and download app updates provided by Google.

“It could face a loss of consumer confidence and that loss of confidence could also extend to the retailers and the operators who are stocking their phones as well. Huawei will be hoping there is a very quick resolution so there is some real clarity on what they can and can’t do going forward,” Wood said.

“Huawei phones are cheap, it is the newest technology that is coming out. America has unfairly tried to suppress Huawei so they can boost their own inferior products. I think it is total trade discrimination. It is the sort of thing Britain used to do in the 19th century,” said Jacob Secker, a British consumer.

“If I couldn’t use Google Maps anymore, for that reason I won’t buy Huawei,” said German Consumer named Florian

Huawei said it will support its smartphones and tablets by providing security updates and services but it did not say what would happen with phones it sells in the future. (REUTERS)

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