Telecom services provider Vodafone has denied reports which state that equipment sold to it by Huawei between 2011 and 2012 in Italy would have allowed the equipment supplier unauthorized access to its network in that country. This was in response to a report published by Bloomberg that Vodafone had discovered flaws in Huawei’s software that would allow it to spy on homes and business in Italy. This is exactly the reason why United States has stopped usage of equipment from Huawei and has warned its allies including UK to follow similar practices.
Telecom firms in New Zealand and Australia have already been directed by their respective governments against usage of equipment from Huawei in developing their 5G networks and even Canada is said to be reviewing its business relationship with the Chinese firm. Responding to Bloomberg’s report Vodafone stated that issues which were identified in Italy were resolved way back during 2011 – 2012. The backdoor flaw referred to in Bloomberg’s article was Telnet protocol used by equipment vendors for diagnostic functionalities that are not accessible from internet. Vodafone affirmed that the detected flaw would not have given anyone access to its network in Italy and there was no evidence of any unauthorized access.
The issue was just a failure by its internal team to remove a diagnostic detail during development which was identified by an independent security agency hired by Vodafone as a part of its routine security initiatives and was fixed by Huawei. The Chinese telecom equipment provider stated that challenges of software vulnerabilities in telecom industry is common and like everyone else they have a public notification process that allows easy patching process on detection of vulnerability. Though the cyber security chief of Huawei John Suffolk has described the network as the most transparent organization in the world European telecom firms are considering removal of Huawei from their equipment supply vendor list.