A top British official in charge of cybersecurity referred to Huawei's network security and engineering practices as "shoddy" and alluded to a potential selective ban coming in the Chinese company's direction further down the road.
Dr. Ian Levy, the Technical Director of the National Cyber Security Centre, a division of the Government Communications Headquarters, just went on record to state the core part of the United Kingdom's fifth-generation mobile networks may be off the limits to Huawei's technologies.
His commentary comes on the heels of an alarming report that blasts Huawei's engineering work due to its vulnerability potential, as well as some already identified oversights. What's particularly damning about that paper is that it was authored by an oversight agency partially funded by Huawei itself, so hardly an unbiased actor but instead an oversight body that's a core part of the agreement allowing Huawei to continue operating in the British wireless segment.
Quite frankly, the Huawei Cyber Security Evaluation Centre (HCSEC) Oversight Board concluded that the Shenzen-based firm poses a threat to the UK national security in late March. While Huawei did not outright deny the entirety of its claims like it usually does, it has yet to fully elaborate on its promise to look into the British government's concerns.
That's not a significant improvement over how Huawei has been handling the matter of the UK's warnings since 2018 seeing how the company took nearly a year to even start acknowledging some of the complaints London launched its way.
The British administration is now quite obviously losing patience as it's resorting to more direct threats, which is how Dr. Levy's comments could certainly be interpreted.
The industry veteran likened the current state of Huawei's engineering practices to the "year 2000," concluding he's far from being convinced the world's largest telecom equipment maker has what it takes to be competitive on the cybersecurity front in 2019.
Huawei can take some solace in the fact that the UK appears to be the only country currently adamant on pressuring the firm into getting its bearings on the network security front under the threat of being (partially) banned from its 5G deployment efforts. Germany, Canada, Japan, and the Czech Republic reportedly considered doing so in recent months but those efforts eventually cooled down.
Ironically, Huawei may actually have the United States to thank for that as Washington appears to have become too aggressive in its endeavors to convince its allies to drop the company's technologies altogether. Things went too far, at least in the case of Germany, with Berlin now making it a diplomatical point to resist U.S. demands and approach the matter of assessing Huawei from a perfectly neutral perspective, free even from the opinion of one of its traditionally strongest allies since World War II.
Due to that state of affairs, Huawei remains relatively safe in regards to additional country bans, at least for the time being. The U.S. and Australia remain the only two countries that have outright banned its wireless equipment, which is a pair of hits Huawei can certainly live with and continue onward with its mission of retaining its status of the world's largest maker of wireless gear.