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Who are way?

Huawei (pronounced as per the title of this article, sans the question mark) is a global microelectronics manufacturer based in China, with strong ties to the Chinese Communist Party and military. It makes, amongst other things, cellphones, 5G networking devices, and tablets. But, last year NZ banned all major telco's from using Huawei devices in their 5g networks. Why?

Because they're somewhat evil, that's why. Okay, back up a bit. Let's be objective. Can I qualify that statement? Ignoring the obvious ties to military, Huawei's devices have been analysed by experts in many places abroad and found to be critically corruptible -that is, a single firmware update from a central Huawei server could potentially re-write certain parts of their operating system, opening security holes and making them either dead, faulty or effectively spying for the Chinese government.

More recently, a Lithuanian security firm analysed several newer Huawei phone models and found, amongst other things, that they were designed with blocklists built in, in order to censor media the Chinese government finds objectionable to national interests (such as mentions of Tiananmen square), as well as backdoor systems to give remote servers in Singapore more control of the phones. The Xiaomi Mi 10T was the worst-affected model, other models varied in terms of their corruptibility.

So essentially, avoid buying a Huawei phone, modem or other device, where possible. Like a lot of stuff you see coming out of China at the moment, it pays to reserve a little suspicion. Huawei currently has the lion's share of the global telco equipment market - sitting at about 25% as of 2019 - but that is rapidly falling as repeatedly, countries baulk at using its 5g equipment. This started with the USA and has continued on through to Australia, the UK, and now us.

Nokia, Apple or Samsung are safer bets security-wise, though they all vary in terms their overall ethics, usually due to doing business in areas of the world with strong human rights violations. As per usual, with anything cheap you can often end up paying in unforeseen ways. The device dying unexpectedly is really, nowadays, the least of your worries.

- Matt Bentley, computer expert at Bentley Home PC Support.
Email info@homepcsupport.co.nz or phone 0211348576.

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