Huawei debate: Risks can be managed

The British business magazine The Economist brings a new perspective to the hitherto little differentiated debate on the cyber security risk Huawei: the handling of risks, a central category of risk management. The West fears that Huawei’s equipment could have back doors and that these security holes would allow the Chinese to carry out cyber espionage and sabotage. However, excluding Huawei as a system supplier would be costly, delay the deployment of 5G and increase pressure to reverse globalization.

Although the risks cannot be dismissed, the West can significantly reduce them with three strategies of risk management. First, networks can be defended with technical solutions. For example, encrypting communications would reduce the risk of espionage, since intercepted data only produces gibberish. Monitoring networks makes it possible to detect intruders early and limit the damage. Finally, the entire communication system can be divided into technical subsystems and Huawei can be excluded from sensitive core components of the networks. Multiple suppliers and free capacities lead to redundancy and resilience.

Secondly, within the framework of the organization, countries can promote the trend towards further opening of the systems. Telecommunication networks will in future consist mainly of software. This will make it easier for new entrants to enter the market. Technology companies can establish open source versions of antennas. When codes and devices are open for inspection, it is easier to detect security holes and more difficult to hide backdoors.

A third policy strategy is international cooperation. Many eyes see more than two, and a broader exchange of experience would help to reduce risks. This strategy also includes establishing common European criteria for telecommunications and setting up an inspection body along the lines of the International Atomic Energy Agency. The risk of users buying unsafe equipment would be significantly reduced.

Source: The Economist

 

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