back to article Not heard owt bad about Huawei, says EU Commish infosec bod

The EU has not seen evidence that Huawei poses a threat to its internal markets – and says that even if it had, blocking the controversial Chinese company's products is up to EU member nations, not the political bloc. In an interview with The Register Despina Spanou, director of digital society, trust and cybersecurity within …

  1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    bringing vendors on board with the "voluntary" initiative

    Compulsory will be better. A sticker will probably find itself with an almost lookalike sibling certifying, if you look carefully, that it (the sticker) was made in China. Make it illegal to sell an uncertified item in the EU. That would probably even give us a degree of herd immunity here in the UK, at least once they finish dumping all the old uncertifiable stuff.

    1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

      Make it illegal to sell an uncertified item in the EU.

      Better yet, have a real certification process that has to be provably followed, like the BSI Kitemark, German TUV, etc., and not just a self-certification sticker that isn't worth the paper it's printed on.

  2. Starace
    Flame

    Qualifications

    Would it be rude to suggest that a Cypriot lawyer probably has about as much knowledge and understanding of infosec issues as my dog does of quantum metamaterials?

    And that's before you consider any political influences colouring their thinking.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Qualifications

      Isn't the EU "cybercentre" in Crete? It looks they think it's an insular problem....

      While I understand distributing jobs across EU, care should be also taken in assessing how to get and retain people with top skills...

      It's no surprises that other entities are placed in other, more appealing places to live in, because the people working there would not accept to be sent elsewhere.

  3. John Jennings

    Spying?

    So, the US threatens the EU to stop using Huawei - a company which has offered to show its source code to govt infosecs....

    Meanwhile, US routers have more NSA approved holes in them than a colander. - https://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2018/08/backdoors_in_ci.html

    Perhaps 5 eyes are pissed because they cant hack Huawei routers, "methinks the ladies doth protest too much!"

    and El Reg calls Huawei 'controversial' - :sadface: expected more from you

    1. Spazturtle Silver badge

      Re: Spying?

      Or maybe the 5 eyes countries just don't want to depend on equipment made by a company that is under the control of an enemy nation.

      1. DougS Silver badge

        THIS

        There's a non-zero probability of some type of conflict between the US and/or some EU members vs China within the lifetime of Huawei telecom equipment. All they need is a way to activate a capability or force a firmware update - easy for anything that operates wirelessly like 5G base station equipment!

        It doesn't have to be a direct conflict, in fact it almost certainly would not be, but rather some type of proxy war like Afghanistan (when the Russians invaded and we supported Bin Laden's resistance)

        Does Cisco/Qualcomm gear have holes the NSA knows about or even put there? Almost certainly, but even in the Trump era the chances of a conflict between the US and any EU members during the lifetime of Cisco equipment is pretty small. Could the US use it to spy on them? Sure, but if you accept that you are going to be spied upon and have someone with a big red button they can press to cause havoc in your country would you rather that someone be an ally or an enemy?

        1. rcxb

          Re: THIS

          Doesn't matter whether you get the equipment from an ally or enemy. When you're buying equipment with known lack of all security and long-standing bugs because it's done as cheaply as possible, the attack could come from anywhere, not just from the manufacturer.

          1. Spazturtle Silver badge

            Re: THIS

            "Doesn't matter whether you get the equipment from an ally or enemy"

            It does, you don't want to be supporting an enemy nation financially.

        2. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          Re: THIS

          >chances of a conflict between the US and any EU members during the lifetime of Cisco equipment is pretty small.

          Shooty war no, trade war - less small

          Might it be in the interest of a patriotic American intelligence agency that Boeing got all of Airbus's sales leads in advance, or had access to the cell phones of the negotiators in the next round of agricultural quotas.

          Or it might be worth a Stuxnet type attack to shut down a gas pipeline from Russia to make sure Europe relies on the Saudis more than the Putins

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Spying?

        ENEMY??

        And, noone here issued just a tiny squeak of disaccordance?

        Fragile Tension...

        Has any WTF happened, Spazturtle?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Spying?

          Well, YES ac, the "enemy" narrative is being pushed so hard, through most "trusted" media, that those with a more realistic world view often laugh nowadays rather than immediately typing a reply to "integrity initiative" type lies.

          ... there is after-all freedom of speech, and though I do not agree with most of the guff that the Institute for Statecraft issues, I defend their right to form covert clusters of presumably corrupt journalists/influencers to try and tell us what to think? that's part of societal evolution, constant attacks from within and vaguely possibly from without.

          I'm presumably still allowed to type this short, quick but anonymous comment back in return

          [loosely related: Huawei phones seem to be on special offer this week, and France allegedly also discovered no proven risk from the Huawei cheap 5G kit, did they not get the memo either?, but some i's seemingly have a campaign to push, $$$]

  4. big_D Silver badge

    On the other hand...

    "There are no compelling reasons that I can see to do business with the Chinese, so long as they have the structure in place to reach in and manipulate or spy on their customers. Those who are charging ahead blindly and embracing the Chinese technology without regard to these concerns may find themselves in a disadvantage in dealing with us."

    I suppose they should be using Cisco or HP kit, which has been proven that the CIA/NSA has intercepted the latter's hardware and installed spyware in router and switch firmware and the former has patched a few dozen backdoors over the last year.

    So, buy from US firms, where it is known that they have been manipulated in the past, or from a Chinese company that the US has alleged does the same thing, but can't provide any proof... Hmm, hard decision.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: On the other hand...

      Who do you believe will be the biggest confrontation in the foreseeable future? US or China?

      Oh well, maybe if Trump gets re-elected the answer is not so easy - but otherwise there are many good reason prefer an ally to what is very close to be an enemy and could greatly damage Westerm economies and societies. Unless you prefer the Chinese regime and pays, of course.

      1. _LC_
        Alert

        Re: On the other hand...

        "Who do you believe will be the biggest confrontation in the foreseeable future? US or China?"

        Why invoke the future? Let's take a look at the present. The US set the entire Middle East on fire – all based on lies and false flag operations. They are openly forcing a coup d'état in Venezuela.

        The past looks just as dark. While having removed elected governments all over the world, their typical supplement were puppet fascist dictatorships.

        I'd say, it's rather obvious who the real pestilence is and has been. I don't expect much to change there in the foreseeable future either.

        1. DavCrav Silver badge

          Re: On the other hand...

          "The past looks just as dark. While having removed elected governments all over the world, their typical supplement were puppet fascist dictatorships.

          I'd say, it's rather obvious who the real pestilence is and has been. I don't expect much to change there in the foreseeable future either."

          Sorry, who are we talking about here? I guess you mean the US, because you used fascist, but remove that word and you could be talking about the Soviet Union, the British Empire, the Roman Empire, Charlemagne, the Ottoman Empire, the Mongol Empire, etc.

          That in the 1960s and 1970s the Chinese Han Empire was only busy slaughtering people in its own borders, rather than in other countries, shouldn't really matter too much. Once they've finished their cultural genocide of the Uighurs (1m in concentration camps, if you haven't noticed) who do they come for next?

          China also has a long history of mass slaughter; just because they didn't attack places you care about, doesn't mean they won't next time.

          Look up the history of the kowtow. While you are at it, you might want to look up the history of the Chinese Empire, and how it treated other countries (all other countries, not just those in its empire) for hints of what lies behind the mask. You get the odd hint of it when, as punishment for Canada following its own legal system, China kidnaps a few Canadians and decides to kill another.

          Be of no doubt, if China is the new boss, it will be very different to the old boss.

          1. _LC_

            Re: On the other hand...

            Trolling 101: pretend to be dumb. ✓

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          "Why invoke the future?"

          Because that's what a good politician do. Think and plan about credible scenarios, not ideological silliness. Sure, US made many mistakes - and should listen more to allies. Venezuela is a dictatorship run by an idiot who run its economy into the ground and made hard for millions even to buy needed goods. Maduro is a fascist or a communist, if you prefer, as communism and fascism are just two faces of the same coin.

          You can keep on pontificate from your comfortable western country and think that spitting in the dish you eat from makes you "better", or try to understand reality. Otherwise, you can also transfer to Venezuela or China... and please, change all you good currency into theirs...

      2. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

        Re: On the other hand...

        Is not prime pay exactly the same East or West?

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        Top Assets which Absolutely Prevent Positive Proofs from Running Further into Amok and Riot.

        Bet you their paychecks are of a considerable almost certifiable fortune?

        For a worthy reward well earned and truly better spent. Who Dares AI Win Wins is an IntelAIgent Confection for Savouring and Servering to Houses of Many Mansions and Deserted Sheikhdoms.

        And its taste? Nectar of course. True Adam and Eve Source Feed delivering Big Banging Reverberations to consider worthy of further prime paycheck reward.

        And if in search of further exciting experiences such as going freelance and solo, Ye Olde Pirate Rogue Renegade State Root in Systems Upgrades and Reboots for Cleared Fresh Starts would be the furrow ploughed by IntelAIgent AIdVenturing Inc. into Markets, Stock and ShareHolders.

        1. Cliff Thorburn

          Re: On the other hand...

          Horse to water and all that amFM ...

          *shrugs shoulders*

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: On the other hand...

        Who do you believe will be the biggest confrontation in the foreseeable future? US or China?

        Given the fixed connection between the dollar and energy sales (on which rides their ability to borrow gazillions without real consequences), I predict that the Chinese renminbi will soon massively gain in prominence. This will be a direct result of Trump putting the US on a course away from sustainable, clean energy whereas the world needs the opposite, combined with the fact that China is poised to go live with energy solutions in 2019 and 2020 that, ironically, the US will endeavour to steal the IP of because all the modern development has been from within China, and you can bet that China is not going to sell this globally in dollars.

        The result will be severe damage to the standing of the US and the ability to browbeat nations into holding vast dollar reserves, in effect weakening the power of the dollar and its grip on the global economy. I have a feeling someone in the US has woken up to that, but Trump can't change the BS he sells to his followers without this becoming too obvious and triggering a panic.

        I am not looking forward to this, but a correction like this was rather long in coming. Trump merely speeded it up by a factor, which will bring great pleasure to Putin & friends.

        You might want to start learning Mandarin, and reconsider whatever holdings you have in dollars.

        IMHO, of course.

      4. big_D Silver badge

        Re: On the other hand...

        Interestingly, in a report in the news this evening, more Germans find the USA and Trump a threat than Putin and Russia or China and Xi.

        1. This post has been deleted by its author

        2. Tail Up

          Re: On the other hand...

          a no-nation Bureaucrazy and its affords to make their children the ancestors of their "power" and "influence" after a possible worldwide catastrophe and shorrrtage of human presence and natural resourses supply is a threat, not nations themselves.

          And - whoa, China turns off its CounterCorruption bot. Not hurrying to mark the event as Fully Informative, but...

      5. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: On the other hand...

        Wanted Hillarious Happoenings?

        OK. have it.

    2. eldakka Silver badge
      Black Helicopters

      Re: On the other hand...

      I agree. I think that the issue could be as much to do with the US (and by extension five-eyes) being butthurt that they are now losing that capability themselves.

  5. naive

    All thin foil hat chatter about US aside....

    At least the Amis don't steal copyrighted information from European companies or engage in state supported piracy, spying and hacking on the scale China does for years now.

    The people claiming "not to have seen evidence that Huawei poses a threat to its internal markets" must be the great-grand children of those who failed to see the evidence that the intentions of Germany in 1939 were something else then peaceful.

    I guess as long the EU can not extort billions from companies for illegal manipulation of the market, they don't care what companies do.

    1. iron Silver badge

      Re: All thin foil hat chatter about US aside....

      So show us the evidence then. If its so bloody obvious you should have no problem producing a single creditable report.

      No, Bloomberg is not a creditable source. (not any more anyway)

      1. DavCrav Silver badge

        Re: All thin foil hat chatter about US aside....

        "So show us the evidence then."

        You want evidence that China has a mass hacking programme directed towards stealing Western technology?

        There you go. It only lists a few. Of course, you are likely to say "you cannot trust the victims not to lie about being victims". So now, what kind of evidence would satisfy you?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: All thin foil hat chatter about US aside....

          So? The US has it all in one building with a plaque "NSA".

          Does that make that acceptable?

          There is IMHO too much pot and kettle in all this.

      2. stiine Bronze badge
        Happy

        Re: All thin foil hat chatter about US aside....

        https://www.cnet.com/news/cisco-sues-huawei-over-patents/

        https://www.cnet.com/news/huawei-admits-to-a-little-copying/

        They even copied the bugs...talk about stupid and following orders...

    2. Alister Silver badge

      Re: All thin foil hat chatter about US aside....

      At least the Amis don't steal copyrighted information from European companies or engage in state supported piracy, spying and hacking

      Oh yes they do, very much so.

      1. _LC_
        Holmes

        Re: All thin foil hat chatter about US aside....

        They evidently did so. Even back in the times, when fax machines were still en vogue.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: All thin foil hat chatter about US aside....

        Much harder to do so when they are in a much more integrated legal system Try to sue someone in China or in the US, and tell me where you can hope to achieve something...

        II can't understand why people instead of flocking to US or Europe don't flock to China by the millions, to live in such paradise....

    3. To Mars in Man Bras!
      Facepalm

      Re: All thin foil hat chatter about US aside....

      "...At least the Amis don't steal copyrighted information from European companies or engage in state supported piracy, spying and hacking on the scale China does for years now...."

      How soon we forget:

      https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015/jul/08/nsa-tapped-german-chancellery-decades-wikileaks-claims-merkel

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: All thin foil hat chatter about US aside....

      At least the Amis don't steal copyrighted information from European companies or engage in state supported piracy, spying and hacking on the scale China does for years now.

      Well, let's just say you chose your handle well. Do you really think the planet has been seeded with fort-like US embassies, bristling like a porcupine with aerials for the good of others? Why exactly do you think the 5 Eyes alliance even exists?

      To be honest, I'm more inclined to believe the Chinese these days if I had to make a choice. At least they don't pretend to be anything they're not. If BS could be converted into dollars, the US would not have trillion dollar deficits..

      1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

        Re: All thin foil hat chatter about US aside....

        If BS could be converted into dollars, the US would not have trillion dollar deficits.. ..... Anonymous Coward

        Hmmmm? The fact then that they have monumental catastrophic debts and deficits is proof positive BS doesn't convert into dollars and become a prize asset? ..... http://www.theusdebtclock.com

        Will someone please tell the Gringos and dodgy markets players. They don't appear to realise their problem.

    5. DougS Silver badge

      The US spies on allies, but is it stealing their technology to give to US companies?

      It is well known that China does this - they often even copy the bugs and other shortcomings the copying is so complete!

      The US government spies because they think they deserve to know what everyone else is thinking/doing, including their allies. No one can credibly argue the US doesn't spy on its allies after the leaks of the past decade demonstrated. They even spy on US companies/citizens (as Snowden exposed) but this is a one way street. The information they collect on what foreign companies are developing is not getting fed back to US companies for corporate advantage the way it does in China.

      What the US doesn't do is sponsor state paid hackers to break into Huawei and Xiaomi servers to steal their plans and technologies to feed them to US companies like Apple, but Chinese state sponsored hackers would very much would like to break into Apple's servers to learn about their future plans and technologies, and if they did they would give that information to Chinese companies like Huawei and Xiaomi.

      1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

        Re: The US spies on allies, but is it stealing their technology to give to US companies?

        What the US doesn't do is sponsor state paid hackers to break into Huawei and Xiaomi servers to steal their plans and technologies to feed them to US companies like Apple, but Chinese state sponsored hackers would very much would like to break into Apple's servers to learn about their future plans and technologies, and if they did they would give that information to Chinese companies like Huawei and Xiaomi. ..... DougS

        There's two states that would benefit from a change of hearts and application direction.

        The US to sponsor and the Chinese to supply future plans and technologies to the likes of Apple servers.

        For All that One Needs ..... Crack Sponsored State Hackers? :-)

        Yeah,.... they be next to impossible to resist or deny. Sweet Submission and Core Surrender is the/a Magic Pill Antidote to being Almightily Overwhelmed Unprotected as Such Unleashed are Privy to Carnal Desire and EMPowering Satisfaction, and you don't want to be messing around with that little lot if you don't know almost exactly what you really should be doing.

        :-) And "almost exactly" to allow for human variations.

        1. Cliff Thorburn

          Re: The US spies on allies, but is it stealing their technology to give to US companies?

          :-) And "almost exactly" to allow for human variations

          See what you did there amFM ;-)

  6. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    You are Dealing with Wholly Other Markets. The Leading Question is Who Knows?

    Those who are charging ahead blindly and embracing the Chinese technology without regard to these concerns may find themselves in a disadvantage in dealing with us."

    The challenge for the US is to Enhance the States of those charging ahead blithely and embracing the Chinese technology with every regard to all concerns.

    The East appears to be Highly Advanced in the Genre. Virtually Remote ReProgramming Programs Communicating in the Quantum MetaDataBase Phorm .....for Novel IntelAIgent Presence.

    I wonder what a scramble of that Google Translate would Deliver as Chinese ?

    Let me test ........

    對美國來說,最大的挑戰是提高那些快速收費的國家,並充分考慮中國的技術,關注所有問題。

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  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    may find themselves in a disadvantage in dealing with us

    I really wish the whole of europe would just embrace Huawei.. Just to call the guys bluff with such a huge middle finger!

    1. Ole Juul Silver badge

      Re: may find themselves in a disadvantage in dealing with us

      Yes, that's not a particularly veiled threat. Sounds kind of thuggish, actually.

  8. Snowy
    Facepalm

    Could name any other country.

    [quote]"There are no compelling reasons that I can see to do business with the Chinese, so long as they have the structure in place to reach in and manipulate or spy on their customers. Those who are charging ahead blindly and embracing the Chinese technology without regard to these concerns may find themselves in a disadvantage in dealing with us."[/quote]

    You could change Chinese to any other country and it is just as valid!

  9. Yes Me Silver badge
    Flame

    Pompeo sticks his oar in

    Mike Pompeo warned U.S. allies on Monday against deploying equipment from Chinese telecoms gear manufacturer Huawei on their soil, saying it would make it more difficult for Washington to "partner alongside them".[Reuters, today]
    So let no-one pretend that the anti-Huawei campaign is non-political. It's a blatant attempt to distort free competition to protect US industry. "Partnering" with the USA looks less and less like a good idea these days.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Pompeo sticks his oar in

      I, mostly, agree with you. But let's not forget that this problem largely arises from the greed of big business and easily bought members of government. No country should give up it's ability to manufacture and no country should buy from another that has no respect for human rights and allows big business to pay its employees something toward zero. I was suggesting of course China but I guess that will have to include the US or at least "right to work" States within the US.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Correct or not, this is what they're worried about

    The Maersk attack can be viewed as a proof of concept https://www.wired.com/story/notpetya-cyberattack-ukraine-russia-code-crashed-the-world/

    If it were propagated through root compromised enterprise routers, it would have been orders of magnitude worse.

  11. steviebuk Silver badge

    Knob

    "There are no compelling reasons that I can see to do business with the Chinese, so long as they have the structure in place to reach in and manipulate or spy on their customers. Those who are charging ahead blindly and embracing the Chinese technology without regard to these concerns may find themselves in a disadvantage in dealing with us."

    <satirequote>"But we don't mind loads of our other tech being made in China. Like Apple phones because it's not possible for the Chinese to sneak spy chips into those at all. Or gain access to the firmware to install a rootkit. No, that's not possible. We just must crush Huawei as we can't have competition because it will disadvantage our paid for friends, I mean international and local friends".</endsatirequote>

  12. paulll Bronze badge

    "Partnering alongside..."

    "In a disadvantage..."

    These people have obviously spent a lot of time reading,"the bad guys'," instruction manuals.

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