UK government panel issues inconclusive Huawei security report

Huawei’s had a rough go of it here in the States, after concerns around ties to the Chinese government have left the company scrambling to gain a commercial toehold. Over the past several years, top U.K. security officials have also put the company under the microscope over potential security concerns. 

A new report issued by a government panel with the straightforward name “Huawei Cyber Security Evaluation Centre” this week presents some fairly inconclusive findings.

“Identification of shortcomings in Huawei’s engineering processes have exposed new risks in the UK telecommunication networks and long-term challenges in mitigation and management,” the report notes, early on. “The Oversight Board can provide only limited assurance that any risks to UK national security from Huawei’s involvement in the UK’s critical networks have been sufficiently mitigated.”

Sure, it’s not as damning as the time the FBI, CIA and NSA issued a bold proclamation against buying from the company, but it certainly leaves the door open for further scrutiny. For its part, Huawei actually seems pretty pleased with the report.

The company offered TechCrunch the following statement in response:

Huawei welcomes the Oversight Board report. It confirms the collaborative approach adopted by Huawei, the UK Government and operators is working as designed, meeting obligations and providing unique, world class network integrity assurance through ongoing risk management. The report concludes that HCSEC’s operational independence is both robust and effective. The Oversight Board has identified some areas for improvement in our engineering processes. We are grateful for this feedback and committed to addressing these issues. Cyber security remains Huawei’s top priority, and we will continue to actively improve our engineering processes and risk management systems.

The report flags a pair of issues relating to testing and third-party software used in some Huawei hardware. The U.K. government’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) says it is working with Huawei to address the concerns.