China is “rigging” 5G equipment testing in order to “discredit the Western rivals of its embattled telecoms champion Huawei”, such as Nokia and Ericsson, The Sunday Telegraph reports.
The newspaper quoted unnamed Whitehall and industry sources as saying that Beijing is “feeding secret details of security vulnerabilities” to more than 100 IT specialists so that the balance can be changed in Huawei's favour.
In a security test of 5G equipment, hacking techniques are specifically used “to check for weak spots”, according to the sources.
They claimed that “it is believed that vulnerabilities discovered by China’s secret state hackers have been passed to the 5G testers to ensure Nokia and Ericsson's equipment is found to be unsecure”.
The testing is expected to complete on 10 June, which the sources said will be “in time for Beijing to use the results to attempt to influence a crucial EU review of 5G security this summer”.
The claims come a few weeks after Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang underscored that Washington is trying to use all possible means to make citizens of the United States and other countries believe that Huawei, a telecommunications company, poses a security threat.
“Sometimes they try to use the so-called ideological issue and try to exaggerate the relationship between Chinese business and the government,” Lu added.
The statement followed US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo claiming that Huawei and its alleged ties to the Chinese government presented a real risk to US national security, something that was rejected by the tech giant.
The move prompted several US corporations, such as Google and Microsoft as well as major semiconductor makers, including Intel, Qualcomm, Xilinx and Broadcom, to follow suit and sever ties with Huawei.