THE NATIONAL CYBER SECURITY CENTRE (NCSC) has warned UK telecoms firms against using equipment from ZTE, citing "national security" concerns.
In a letter seen by the Financial Times, Ian Levy, technical director at the NCSC, wrote to UK telcos, ZTE and Ofcom warning that "the use of ZTE equipment or services within existing telecommunications infrastructure would present risk to UK national security that could not be mitigated effectively or practicably."
Levy continued: "Mitigating the risk of external interference with equipment supplied by a particular vendor depends in significant part on telecommunications equipment being present from other vendors who are not subject to the same risk of external interference.
"The UK telecommunications network already contains a significant amount of equipment supplied by Huawei, also a Chinese equipment manufacturer. Adding in new equipment and services from another Chinese supplier would render our existing mitigations ineffective."
The FT's report notes that Levy's letter also cites a recent settlement between ZTE and US officials, in which the Chinese firm agreed to pay a $1.2bn fines for violating US sanctions on North Korea and Iran.
Levy noted it would be "impossible" to manage the risks posed if ZTE equipment was deployed at scale, adding: "The result would be an unacceptable national security risk to the UK telecoms infrastructure environment," he said.
This warning follows similar action from the US government, which has long-prohibited American telecoms firms from buying network equip from Chinese firm Huawei, and last month went so far as to warn US citizens not to use smartphones from the Chinese companies Huawei and ZTE.
What's more, earlier this year, a senior official in President Trump's administration confirmed earlier this year US government is considering developing its own 5G network, containing parts manufactured in China, to counter, er, security threats from China. µ
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