Huawei denies government influence and calls for cyber security standards

Huawei has reiterated denials of government influence and called for common international cyber security standards

China-based telecoms supplier Huawei has reiterated denials of government influence and called for common international cyber security standards.

Huawei has now issued a cyber security white paper, which it says is designed to inform on-going discussions on how the global industry can address cyber security challenges.

The company has struggled to make gains in the US market because of continual questions of links with the Chinese government.

But in the forward to the white paper, Huawei deputy board chairman Ken Hu said: “We can confirm that we have never received any instructions or requests from any government or their agencies to change our positions, policies, procedures, hardware, software or employment practices or anything else, other than suggestions to improve our end-to-end cyber security capability.”

The white paper goes on to discuss how to make cyber security a part of a company’s DNA and calls for common international cyber security standards to be agreed upon and implemented globally.

The white paper includes an overview of the approach Huawei takes to the design, build and deployment of technology that involves cyber security considerations.

This includes the company’s overarching strategy and governance structure, its day-to-day processes and standards, staff management, R&D, security verification, third-party supplier management, manufacturing, delivery and traceability.

According to the white paper, Huawei’s mantra has always been: assume nothing, believe no-one and check everything.

“At Huawei, when we consider security, we do not just consider addressing yesterday's problems, or even the problems we experience today, rather, we focus equally on laying down the foundations for securing tomorrow's world, a world that is dramatically different to what it is today,” said John Suffolk, Global Cyber Security Officer of Huawei.

“It is with an eye to the future that we recognise and embrace the need for international industry standards for cyber security,” he said.

According to Suffolk, a former UK government CIO, as ICT becomes more central to business operations, cyber security challenges in the industry need to be addressed by the global community jointly.

The publication of Huawei’s white paper is part of Huawei’s efforts to contribute to this increasingly important issue, he said.

“Our most modest hope is that this white paper serves as a catalyst for broader, collaborative and rationally informed public-private dialogue to meet common cyber security goals and objectives,” said Suffolk.

Speaking at the Seoul Conference on Cyberspace 2013 on 17 October, he said the more that governments, enterprises and technology vendors can detail common standards, understand their purpose and the positive difference they make and commit to their effective adoption through buyers using their buying power, the more the world will begin to see a difference.

“This is not about solving every problem, but it is about having a common agreement about what problems we are trying to solve and how they should be solved,” he said.

Suffolk concluded his remarks by saying, “Huawei will continue to work with governments, customers and other stakeholders to meet their cyber security assurance requirements in an open, collaborative and transparent way. 

“We believe it is only by working together internationally, as vendors, customers and policy and law makers, will we make a substantial difference in addressing the global cyber security challenge.”

At the same conference, UK foreign secretary William Hague said that despite progress in areas such as capacity building to help all states tackle challenges in cyberspace, there is still no agreement on international ‘rules of the road’ or a set of standards on behaviour.

Hague also called for an open and borderless internet to spur economic growth, and international collaboration to ensure that the internet is not only secure, but remains an engine for progress the world over.

“At a time of such global economic uncertainty, making the wrong choice would have profound consequences for the future,” he said.

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