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Huawei CEO tries to deflect cybersecurity spotlight onto Ericsson and Cisco

It was just a matter of time before Huawei played the whataboutism card and Founder/CEO Ren Zhengfei couldn’t resist in a recent interview.

Chatting to CNN in Shenzhen Ren said the following when referring to the US ban on Huawei gear: “They have to have evidence. Everybody in the world is talking about cyber security and they are singling out Huawei. What about Ericsson, what about Cisco, don’t they have cybersecurity issues? Why has Huawei been singled out? There’s no Huawei equipment in the US networks but has that made the US networks totally safe? If not how can they tell other countries that your networks will be safe without Huawei?”

When Huawei announced its lawsuit against the US government we figured it would have a pop at Cisco sooner or later, but Ren decided to involve Ericsson for good measure (but not Nokia). He has a bit of a point, we suppose, but there are a couple of flaws in this fallacious approach. Firstly, if he thinks any other vendors might be a security risk then he is subject to the same burden of proof he is applying to the US. Secondly, even if they are dodgy that doesn’t mean Huawei isn’t.

The main theme of this resumption of the Ren roadshow was to augment the points Huawei made when in its lawsuit. Ren stressed he would rather shut the company down than let the Chinese state muck about with it and said US tactics will result in scaring away investment in the country. He also tried playing the martyr card, insisting that what doesn’t kill Huawei will make it stronger and even suggesting this aggro provides a timely wake-up call for complacent Huawei employees.

Ren’s media tour coincides with parallel attempts to win hearts and minds among US allies, but it looks like those are being trumped by a more direct approach from the US. Another recent report from Bloomberg reveals German spooks think Huawei is just too dodgy to be allowed into the country’s 5G networks.

Apparently the German intelligence officials remain unconvinced by Ren’s vows to never collaborate with the Chinese state and are also worried about upsetting the US. “It’s above all a matter of trustworthiness and of the impact on our relationship with our allies,” a German Foreign Ministry official told some parliamentary committee.

On top of that the EU has recently been publicly expressing concerns about Chinese 5G kit in general so, for the time being at least, momentum seems to have swung back in favour of the US. Ren’s attempt to metastasise the aggro to other networking vendors must be causing some alarm, however, not least because it raises the prospect of them being caught in the orbit of the law suit. If we’re on a Huawei to hell, we’re taking you with us, seems to be the message.

 

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3 comments

  1. Avatar Patro 9183 14/03/2019 @ 3:35 pm

    First Huawei steals from Ericsson and Cisco and when questioned wants scrutiny of Ericsson and Cisco. This is so funny!

  2. Avatar MmM 14/03/2019 @ 8:35 pm

    He is deflecting the subject itself.
    The problem is not Huawei networks being vulnerable to attacks, but rather Huawei sniffing data from their customers networks and cooperating with Chinese government.

    It’s clear that China have an agenda for Huawei and are injecting loads of money there for years. Huawei are paying politics, top managers from customers, industry influencers, universities and anyone who can play on their side. They spend ridiculous amounts of money buying allies and creating security and R&D centres in Europe (which is just a façade) and bringing influent people to top management jobs.

    Vodafone Germany caught them some 8 years ago doing that in transport network but hey, it’s cheap! Nothing went to light. In 2015, they got a charter flight from Brazil to Barcelona, bringing 100+ customers and politics to MWC at their expense, not a word…

  3. Avatar Gamal 14/03/2019 @ 11:39 pm

    Let us not forget Huawei’s questionable tactics in the 1970s and 80s to steal 3Com’s IP. The company has been at it for a long time.

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