EU Report Bares Risks In Global Cybersecurity, But Did Not Mention China

European Union flags fly near the European Commission headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, October 4, 2019. (Photo: REUTERS/Yves Herman/File Photo )

The threats of cyberattacks supported by governments around the globe are just around the corner, the European Union warned on Wednesday. The warning came without particular mention of China and telecommunications giant Huawei.

The EU's warnings were made following a report from its member countries about the risks faced by nations and companies on cybersecurity as they tap into the newest tech in 5G mobile connections which the EU views as an important aspect of its role in the global digital ecosystem.

Key personalities behind the research paper did not heed the United States' calls to prohibit the import of the Chinese telco's hardware, which drew appreciation from the Shenzen-headquartered firm following allegations by Washington that the Chinese could use these gadgets to gather sensitive data from them and other countries.

In a statement by the EU, among the many possible entities -- non-member states of the union or government-supported -- are seen "as the most serious and most likely ones to target 5G networks." Finland supported the report in a joint statement released Wednesday.

Huawei - the main rival of Sweden's Ericsson and Finland's Nokia - disclosed its willingness to share efforts on cybersecurity with its alliances in Europe on fifth-generation technology. The Chinese telecoms leader has consistently junked reports that its technology can be used for spying.

According to a Huawei representative, these measures are a crucial step in creating "a common approach to cybersecurity" as countries work to come up with a safe infrastructure for the next generation of telecommunications.

But a former US official for homeland security has a different interpretation of the EU report. Tom Ridge said Huawei's strong business partnership with Chinese trade ministers meant it would have to adhere to policies that mandate it to assist with information gathering.

The global cybersecurity expert stressed that if governments wanted more reasons to impose a more rigid security measure to safeguard this latest system, "this comprehensive risk assessment is the one."

The EU report all comes down to one very important reminder: That it is not wise or safe for any entity to be over-reliant on one telecommunications device supplier. Over-dependence on a single company, the report said, only increases the likelihood of being vulnerable to a potential disruption in supply which can cause commercial failure.

Meanwhile, the EU will work on other measures to create a set of tools of sorts, before the end of 2019 to tackle other issues on cybersecurity at the national and regional levels. It will also design a map where specific online threats associated with the next-generation technology are shown.

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