Feeds

The web needs globally backed, verifiable security standards – says Huawei

The Chinese government ain't the boss of us, telecoms kit giant asserts ... again

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

Chinese networking hardware behemoth Huawei has issued its second annual cybersecurity white paper and is calling for manufacturers around the world to set up testable security standards that will ensure everyone's reading from the same hymn sheet.

"The biggest hurdle is that the technology industry doesn't want mandatory global standards. Because governments and big enterprises are not using their buying power to really demand the highest level of security from network equipment suppliers, vendors are not putting their investment dollars into security unless they really need to," John Suffolk, Huawei's global cyber security officer, told The Wall Street Journal.

"Governments are big spenders in the information technology industry, so if many governments got together and demanded certain security standards from all vendors, the whole industry will then shift to those new standards. And once the governments do that, enterprise clients will follow and do the same."

There are almost no common security standards being enforced and regularly tested across the industry, Suffolk said, and this piecemeal approach to security – with each vendor (including Huawei) handling just their own products – was a recipe for failure. Global standards that are verifiable, frequently tested, and fully audited, are needed to secure traffic going forward he suggested.

Suffolk, who was the UK's CIO before heading to the Middle Kingdom, flatly denied that his employers give any data to the Chinese government and their agencies. As for moves in the US to ban the Chinese manufacturer's kit, he pointed out that around 70 per cent of the components in Huawei's hardware come from third-party suppliers, most of which are US firms.

As for software there's no single programmer writing code for its stack who would be able to add in spying code he said, and the multitude of different ways companies configure their networks would make such an approach largely useless, he argued. Any hacker would be much more effective using phishing or malware attacks to spy rather than trying to subvert a whole company's processes, he said.

The biggest change companies and governments could make to secure their networks wasn't picking a specific, supposedly secure supplier, Suffolk said, but better overall security practice. Patching vulnerabilities, training staff to be more switched on, and limiting root privileges on the network would solve about 80 per cent of common security problems, he reckoned.

Suffolk didn't go as far as to call out the NSA directly for weakening encryption standards and similar practices, but the white paper does point out that governments buying up zero-day security bug exploits and hoarding them wasn't helping matters on the cyber-security front.

"Among the global vendors, the spotlight has been on Huawei more than anyone else, because we are quite unique being a Chinese-headquartered business. And therefore we have to go the extra mile when it comes to security, and we are pleased to go the extra mile. But there's no point in Huawei improving its security on its own if nobody else in the ecosystem improves their security," he concluded. ®

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

More from The Register

next story
Docker's app containers are coming to Windows Server, says Microsoft
MS chases app deployment speeds already enjoyed by Linux devs
Intel, Cisco and co reveal PLANS to keep tabs on WORLD'S MACHINES
Connecting everything to everything... Er, good idea?
SDI wars: WTF is software defined infrastructure?
This time we play for ALL the marbles
'Urika': Cray unveils new 1,500-core big data crunching monster
6TB of DRAM, 38TB of SSD flash and 120TB of disk storage
Facebook slurps 'paste sites' for STOLEN passwords, sprinkles on hash and salt
Zuck's ad empire DOESN'T see details in plain text. Phew!
'Hmm, why CAN'T I run a water pipe through that rack of media servers?'
Leaving Las Vegas for Armenia kludging and Dubai dune bashing
Windows 10: Forget Cloudobile, put Security and Privacy First
But - dammit - It would be insane to say 'don't collect, because NSA'
Oracle hires former SAP exec for cloudy push
'We know Larry said cloud was gibberish, and insane, and idiotic, but...'
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.