Jeremy Fleming, the head of Britain’s GCHQ has warned that the 5G network which is about to be launched next year in the UK is extremely vulnerable to spies funded by the Chinese government. And he says that if in case, this happens, then it could pose as the greatest cyber threat to national infrastructure in recent times.
To those who are unaware of the developments going in the telecom circles of United Kingdom, here’s a briefing. Next year, Britain is said to experience the next generation of superfast mobile broadband i.e. 5G in March’19. But security analysts fear that the network could be hacked by hostile states or terrorists if it is left unsecured.
“Though the new web connectivity is said to transform high tech cities to become smarter, there is also a risk of being hacked,” said Fleming in an interview to Sunday Times. And that’s because the said technology is likely to come from China- a nation which not only advances in technology but is also known for some classy espionage projects- such as the recent surveillance project on Chinese populace.
When 5G will be introduced into Britain in 2019, it will eventually run everything from driverless cars to vast computer networks in the next 3 years. This is where the concern grows as OEMs can take everything into their stride and start spying on their users for their own benefits.
Huawei happens to be the world’s largest provider of telecom equipment and is set to lead the global charge into 5G by providing next-generation mobile broadband related equipment to developed countries like the US, Canada, and UK.
This is where security fears are erupting from Fleming’s perspective as technology introduction will also make way to new security risks. He thinks that new systems and their supply chains need to build security into the early stages of design in order to protect the integrity and liberty of those using them on the long run- when it comes to internet freedom.
If this basic point gets ignored in the initial stages, then it will be like inviting cyber threats to hit the critical infrastructure at any time.
Note- In Feb this year, US President Donald Trump said that China could conduct espionage on users using the equipment manufactured on its soil- pointing fingers at Huawei which is said to lead the global charge to 5G networks.