Huawei headquarters
Huawei headquarters, Shanghai. Source: Kārlis Dambrāns | cropped & resized | CC BY 2.0

The U.S. government is reportedly asking its allies’ ISPs and WiFi providers to avoid Huawei technology. According to the Wall Street Journal, American officials have passed this information to governments and companies in Japan, Germany, and Italy.

Unnamed sources say that though the DoD has its own satellites and network, traffic at some bases still travels through commercial providers. If one of these providers has compromised Chinese technology it would prove a huge security risk.

The warnings come a month after motherboards from San Jose’s Supermicro were found to have tiny, compromised microchips. Planted by a Chinese subcontractor, the running theory is that the Chinese government was involved in some way.

The US banned Huawei telecom in August when Trump signed a bill, alongside ZTE. The bill was based on a 2012 congressional report that highlighted the risk. Since then, Huawei has been embroiled in several scandals where executives took bribes from non-state staff.

However, as well as preventing spying, the moves help with the US’ technological war against China. With technology, such a leading part of our lives, the dominance of China in such an area could undermine the US.

The 5G Struggle

The warnings come as many countries prepare to roll out 5G, which Huawei provides tech for. Australia previously banned use of Huawei 5G tech. However, while the UK has raised its concerns about Huawei products, Three is still working with the company to provide 5G broadband.

The issue, according to industry experts, is that Huawei is far ahead of the competition when it comes to 5G. It offers more customization, lower costs, and better quality. However, cellular-tower hardware from Huawei could potentially be used to disrupt the network’s ‘core’ systems, which process data.

“We engage with countries around the world about our concerns regarding cyberthreats in telecommunications infrastructure,” a U.S. official told WSJ. “As they’re looking to move to 5G, we remind them of those concerns. There are additional complexities to 5G networks that make them more vulnerable to cyberattacks.”

For its part, Huawei said it was surprised by the US government’s behavior and added:

“If a government’s behavior extends beyond its jurisdiction, such activity should not be encouraged. Huawei firmly believes that our partners and customers will make the right choice based on their own judgment and experience of working with Huawei.”