Huawei backdoor to Google apps slams shut - Mobile World Live

Huawei backdoor to Google apps slams shut

02 OCT 2019

An unofficial manual way to install Google apps on Huawei’s new Mate 30 smartphone line has been shut down, handing the Chinese vendor another major setback.

Bloomberg, citing a blog from security researcher John Wu, reported that Mate 30 and Mate 30 Pro users could previously manually install Google apps through an Android application package (APK) from a website called lzplay, despite being banned from using US software and hardware.

However, the website has now been shut down.

Wu had claimed the Chinese vendor allowed this software to operate and that lzplay developers had to “eventually have the app signed by Huawei”.

This claim has been denied by Huawei. In a statement to Mobile World Live, the company said: “Huawei’s latest Mate 30 series is not pre-installed with Google Mobile Services, and Huawei has had no involvement with www.lzplay.net.”

Wu explained users would have to input the steps themselves to gain access to apps such as Google Maps and Gmail, but also relied on specific mobile device management application programming interface.

Wu said: “Although this backdoor requires user interaction to be enabled, the installer app, which is signed with a special certificate from Huawei, was granted privileges nowhere to be found on standard Android systems.”

The 5G compatible Mate 30 devices are the first flagship line from Huawei to be affected by the US government’s blacklisting of the company. The ban prevents US companies from buying and selling to overseas companies that are deemed a national security threat. The US government added Huawei affiliate companies to the blacklist in August, a move the Chinese vendor has blasted.

Huawei set aside $1 billion to pay developers to make their apps compatible with Huawei’s native app ecosystem – Huawei Mobile Services. Consumer business group CEO Richard Yu said 45,000 apps have been made compatible for the Huawei app store so far.

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Manny Pham

Manny joined Mobile World Live in September 2019 as a reporter based in London. He has previous experience in telecoms having worked for B2B publication Mobile News for three years where he climbed up to the position of Features Editor....

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