Huawei has lost access to Android with Google’s revocation of the company’s Android license, but the Wall Street Journal is now reporting that Huawei’s membership in a cybersecurity forum has now been suspended as well.
Huawei and the Forum of Incident Response and Security Teams (First)
Huawei, like the US and the UK, has been an active member in the Forum of Incident Response and Security Teams (First), a society devoted to sharing the latest on cybersecurity attacks such as hacks and software loopholes and vulnerabilities. The group would share information about malware alongside of hacker infiltrations of software, issuing software patches quickly to combat new attacks. With this information, members would be able to do together what they couldn’t do apart.
What the membership suspension means for Huawei
Huawei’s membership suspension in the cybersecurity forum means that Huawei can no longer have access to malware and cyber attack information. Additionally, since Huawei is no longer a member of Android, and now has a suspended membership in the cybersecurity forum, it will lose the opportunity to issue software patches on time — or even issue them at all.
The company’s new HarmonyOS (“HongMeng” in China) is open-sourced to encourage platform adoption, which means that Huawei could find security researchers to help with security patches. But HongMeng is “the new kid on the block,” proverbially speaking, and it doesn’t quite have the security research team just yet to handle cyber threats. So with that said, losing access to a group where security information is shared immediately is a hard loss for the Shenzhen-based manufacturer.
The membership suspension: fair or biased?
Huawei is getting this membership suspension likely because of the events pertaining to the Trump Ban in the US. After all, we’ve seen Huawei’s suspension from other special interest groups as a result of the Ban in the States as well.
The question becomes, is the Huawei cybersecurity membership suspension fair or biased? It seems from the evidence that the Huawei suspension is fair. The reason for the suspension may be motivated out of a desire to appease the US in its national security threat claims, but it also protects the UK (who is also a member) as well by keeping Huawei out of information pertaining to UK networks.
The US has said time and again that Huawei is a national security threat, and according to the information discussed in the last few months, is an accurate claim. The Wall Street Journal has revealed Huawei’s espionage work in the African governments of Uganda and Zambia, with Huawei technicians cracking open encrypted messaging platforms such as WhatsApp to obtain messages from political opponents on behalf of national governments.
Africans stated in that expose that Huawei was able to crack open the most encrypted platforms whereas Israeli technicians looking to help weren’t as successful. This tells us how smart and capable Huawei is when it comes to cyberattacks. A company that skilled in infiltrating encrypted systems doesn’t need to have unfettered access to software vulnerabilities, malware information, and cybersecurity loopholes. You don’t give a bank robber the layout of your bank and then act surprised when he hits the safe and quickly escapes!
There’s another good reason behind the suspension, too: Huawei is angry and upset right now. It’s understandable, considering that their friends are now becoming their foes and abandoning the company. In this Trump Ban and with this bad reputation now on their heads, Huawei could resort to doing things in anger. We’ve seen this with the company’s 5G patent royalties, as the company that never bothered calling them in wrote a letter to Verizon requesting it pay up its $1 billion in 5G patent royalties after the Ban commenced. We’ve seen Huawei, having not filed for its telecom equipment in two years, file a lawsuit against the US once the Ban started (a lawsuit Huawei has now dropped since the US released the telecom gear back to the company).
When Huawei gets angry, it leverages all its resources to “get even” with its enemies. And, since Huawei is clearly skilled at digital espionage, does it seem impossible that the company that spies for other countries on other continents would spy for its own country and government (Beijing)?