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Europe Union Warns Of A Vulnerability That Could Hit 5G Networks

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The European Union has warned that 5G networks could be attacked from state-sponsored hackers if the operators use too many parts from a single supplier.

A report released on Wednesday says that mobile operators should be wary of suppliers that strong ties with governments that lack democratic checks and balances.

In this context of increased exposure to attacks facilitated by suppliers, the risk profile of individual suppliers will become particularly important,” the EU said in a statement.

Although the document does not mention Huawei, what follows after the publication is an aggressive campaign designed by the Trump led administration to discourage allies from using Tech equipment manufactured by Huawei Technology.

Washington says that Huawei has possible ties with Beijing and that they products could be used as surveillance to spy on the US, thereby posing a national security. Huawei has denied this claim severally saying that it has no ties with Beijing or the military and that it functions independently as an enterprise.  The Trump administration is yet to provide an evidence to support its claims.

The US in May placed Huawei on an entity list barring the company from purchasing supplies from US firms except with government’s approval. Just recently, it added 28 other Chinese organisations including Hikvision and Megvil Technology over alleged Xinjiang Uighur abuse. Europe has however, resisted pressure to ban Huawei products. The European Union is planning a wider security review which is due by the end of December. The new checks will include steps to safeguard 5G networks.  

Huawei is the world’s largest supplier of telecoms equipment with a market share estimated between 35% and 40%.

We are pleased to note that the EU delivered on its commitment to take an evidence-based approach, thoroughly analysing risks rather than targeting specific countries or actors,” a spokesperson for Huawei said.

The 5th generation network is not limited to having a faster mobile internet. Other technologies such as self-drive cars and robots can only work with much more bandwidth, allowing the data from sensors and thermostats to work together in real time.

The EU report also mentioned that critical sectors like energy, banking, health and transport will likely be exposed to the risks because of the connection, making the security and resilience of 5G networks a necessity.

In retrospect, mobile network operators including Vodafone are already taking steps to diversify their suppliers beyond Ericsson, Nokia and Huawei.

This is good news for start-ups who need patronage. Vodafone on Monday announced that it would test Open Radio Access Networks as part of the plan to diversify its purchase of telecom network equipment.

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