Britain’s National Cyber Security Centre calls for the country to dramatically realign its focus on 5G security

The CEO of Britain’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) has said that the country’s 5G security debate needs to centre on far more than just the role of Chinese technology giant, Huawei.

Speaking at Chatham House in London, the NCSC’s CEO, Ciaran Martin said that the UK needed to fundamentally change its attitude to network security.

“Whilst the global debate has focussed on one company, Huawei, our work is much, much broader. There is a structural and sustained problem in the way telecommunications markets have worked in the past which has not incentivised sufficiently good cyber security.

"Moreover, there are a wide range of threats: the most significant attack on UK telcos in recent years that we know of was Russian and we don’t have any Russian owned or flagged kit in our telco networks. We need to use this opportunity to change fundamentally the way we do telecommunications security to bake in cyber security and resilience into our infrastructure. So, there’s much more to 5G security than Huawei,” he said.

Martin also questioned whether the current focus on Huawei was being influenced by more nefarious political agendas, rather than a genuine concern for enhanced network security.  

“Don’t get me wrong: there are some very real security risks in 5G that we have to get right. But given the complexity, it’s easy for the debate to slip into areas where some of the arguments just don’t technically stack up,” he added.

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