All the latest UK technology news, reviews and analysis

Huawei argues against closed network approach to security after PRISM scandal

18 Oct 2013
Huawei logo

Governments and businesses must avoid making protectionist, knee-jerk reactions to cyber security following the PRISM scandal, according to Huawei.

Huawei's UK chief cyber security officer David Francis made the claim during a press briefing attended by V3, arguing recent moves from companies like Deutsche Telekom to only move data on their network through European data centres could damage the digital economy.

Referring to Deutsche Telecom, he said: "Whether it's possible is going to be interesting due to the nature of the global network. How that's going to work in practice is also going to be interesting. There was also an announcement from Brazil that they want to build their own internet.

"All of this shows there is a danger we'll take a protectionist approach. This is bad as protectionism didn't work in the 1930s and it won't work now."

Francis said in order to truly benefit from the growing global digital economy businesses and governments must instead work to be more open and collaborate when combating cyber threats.

"The networks are now totally different; they no longer respect global boundaries. Our traffic no longer necessarily stays in one region's boundary. This means it is not about threats in the UK or the European Union, it's about threats on the global network," he said.

"We need to make sure we start to embrace the implementation of the network and work together. If we have to have a global network we need global standards. We need to make sure in a global supply chain that the whole network is secured, not just our small part of it."

Francis said businesses must adopt the new open strategy sooner, rather than later if they hope to protect themselves from next-generation cyber threats.

"The landscape has changed in the last 10 years. If you go back to 2002 the people trying to exploit the industry were closet groups – small groups, script kiddies trying to do things like get into the Duke of Edinburgh's account. Things changed in 2003 when people began targeting industrial processes. Then it became a billion-dollar industry," he said.

"In 2003 we saw the industrialisation of threats, and since then the sophistication of threats has grown. Then we reached a point where the bad guys could just buy the tools they need. We've seen the threats move from curiosity to personal gain. Make no mistake this is a billion-dollar business.

"For example, when the UK government announced it was going put the benefit system online. We knew the investment protecting it would be matched or even dwarfed by the gangs trying to game it. We're in an arms race with the bad guys. We know the bad guys collaborate and sell information with each other. It's up to us to do something about this."

He added that the news is troubling as many businesses still view security as a hassle. "Today we're in a very different landscape but a lot of our thought processes are still in the 1980s. In the modern world where people are running to consumer products and apps, security is still bolted on," he said.

Francis is one of many security heads to call for technology firms to design their products with security in mind from the start. Intel president Renee James argued that high-tech companies must begin designing products with fully integrated security from the start, during a keynote speech at the McAfee 2013 trade show in Las Vegas.

Increasing data-sharing between the public and private sector has been an ongoing goal of the UK Government's Cyber Strategy. The Strategy has seen the government launch several data-sharing initiatives, including the creation of the Cyber Security Information Sharing Partnership (CISP), since it began in 2011.

  • Comment  
  • Tweet  
  • Google plus  
  • Facebook  
  • LinkedIn  
  • Stumble Upon  
Alastair Stevenson

Alastair has worked as a reporter covering security and mobile issues at V3 since March 2012. Before entering the field of journalism Alastair had worked in numerous industries as both a freelance copy writer and artist.

View Alastair's Google+ profile

More on Security
What do you think?
blog comments powered by Disqus

Devices at work poll

Which device do you use most for work?

Popular Threads

Powered by Disqus
LG G Flex 2 hands-on review

CES 2015: LG G Flex 2 video

A closer look at LG's latest curved-screen smartphone

Updating your subscription status Loading

Get the latest news (daily or weekly) direct to your inbox with V3 newsletters.

newsletter sign-up button

Getting started with virtualisation

Virtualisation can help you reduce costs, improve application availability, and simplify IT
management. However, getting started can be challenging


Converting big data and analytics insights into results

Successful leaders are infusing analytics throughout their organisations to drive smarter decisions, enable faster actions and optimise outcomes

Junior Java Developer - Java, 2D, 3D, Data visualisation, Scrum, S/W

Our client develops leading edge software for spatial...

Java Developer Spring (Senior) REST API

Java Developer / Senior Java Programmer (REST API Cloud...

Bespoke Apps Trainer/ Warrington / Contract

Our client, a large training and development company...

Extreme Network Engineer - Extreme / Routing / Switches

Extreme Network Engineer - Extreme / Routing / Switches...
To send to more than one email address, simply separate each address with a comma.