By Kavit Majithia

Huawei US CSO addresses security concerns

Huawei Technologies USA chief security officer Andy Purdy (pictured, right) called for a more comprehensive approach to 5G standards, increased public testing of products and changes in regulation, in a bid to address lingering concerns around the technology.

Speaking in the 5G Hard Talk panel, the CSO of the Chinese vendor’s US arm provided a series of suggestions to meet the current 5G challenges, as his company faces constant scrutiny with regards to security.

Purdy noted that there have been “some distractions and mixed messages in the US”, but conceded that some government concerns had been considered.

He pointed to the work of the 3GPP, which looks at threat modelling for different business scenarios, as well as similar efforts of building security frameworks in both the EU and Germany, which could contribute to a more collaborative effort.

He also said that some of the security enhancement efforts made so far, addressing threats from the 3G and 4G era, “had been encouraging”, but there was a way to go.

“I would like to see more public testing,” he said. “You can’t release vulnerability information, but let’s get products openly tested so the functionality can be compared, the security features can be compared and we could even have live hackathon competitions – not of live networks but of controlled situations so we can share and benefit from the information.”

Purdy went on to suggest there needed to be a rethink around national industrial policy, with old prescriptive models no longer working in an environment “where we are emphasising risk management and promoting resilience”.

“The idea is that we are not going to have a government dictate, but we should have a public private collaboration to figure out what we as a society needs to do, what we need to consider and what kind of R&D we could collaborate on. We need new models of regulation.”

Purdy concluded by stating that working with governments around the world and private organisations remained one of Huawei’s biggest priorities in its bid to address cybersecurity threats.