Huawei, Vodafone strongly refute security claims  - Mobile World Live

Huawei, Vodafone strongly refute security claims 

01 MAY 2019

Both Vodafone Group and Huawei downplayed the relevance of a widely covered media report on a historical issue with routers in Italy, describing the article as misleading and incorrect.

Yesterday (30 April), Bloomberg published a story claiming a backdoor in kit supplied by Huawei to Vodafone Italy, uncovered more than seven years ago, could have given the vendor unauthorised access to the operator’s fixed network. It went on to state the potential vulnerabilities found in the equipment were not immediately remedied.

However, both companies strenuously denied several of the claims made in the article, emphasising the so-called backdoor was actually common maintenance protocol with limited risk, and any issues related to it were fully resolved between 2011 and 2012.

In a statement Vodafone Group said: “The backdoor that Bloomberg refers to is Telnet, which is a protocol that is commonly used by many vendors in the industry for performing diagnostic functions. It would not have been accessible from the internet.”

Bloomberg is incorrect in saying that this ‘could have given Huawei unauthorised access to the carrier’s fixed-line network in Italy’. In addition, we have no evidence of any unauthorised access. This was nothing more than a failure to remove a diagnostic function after development,” it added.

“The issues were identified by independent security testing, initiated by Vodafone as part of our routine security measures, and fixed at the time by Huawei.”

A Huawei representative described the report as misleading: “It refers to a maintenance and diagnostic function, common across the industry, as well as vulnerabilities which were corrected over seven years ago. There is absolutely no truth in the suggestion that Huawei conceals backdoors in its equipment.”



Chris Donkin

Chris joined the Mobile World Live team in November 2016 having previously worked at a number of UK media outlets including Trinity Mirror, The Press Association and UK telecoms publication Mobile News. After spending 10 years in journalism, he moved...

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