ZTE and Huawei face ban in Australia

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Both companies have not allowed selling 5G technology to Australian telecom providers

The Australian government banned manufacturers Huawei and ZTE from providing hardware equipment for the country’s 5G network, as reported by cyber security organization experts from the International Institute of Cyber Security.

Huawei unveiled this security measure on the same day that the Australian government issued a press release detailing its efforts to improve the security of its 5G communications network, which will soon be rehabilitated.

These efforts include the adoption of the Telecommunications Sector Security Reform last year, an act that introduces new legal measures that allow the Australian government the ability to intervene and issue instructions in cases relevant to national security. The Australian government seems to have taken advantage of this new law by imposing a ban on Australian telecom companies, prohibiting them to buy and use any Huawei and ZTE equipment to build their national 5G network.

The press release, issued by the Ministry of Communications and Arts and the Ministry of Internal Affairs, did not mention the two Chinese companies by their names, but Huawei revealed the information yesterday: “The Australian Government has informed Huawei and ZTE that both companies are prohibited from providing 5G technologies to Australian telecom providers. This is an extremely disappointing result for our customers, as Huawei is a world leader in 5G technology. The company has delivered securely wireless technology in Australia for the last 15 years”, Huawei posted on Twitter.

ZTE was already banned in the United States

Previously, a ban had been issued for ZTE on US territory, where the Department of Commerce banned American companies from selling hardware and/or software to the Chinese supplier under the accusation of violating the sanctions imposed by the United States government.

On the other hand, Huawei does not face any kind of sanction in the US, but American legislators are working on two bills that would prohibit government agencies from buying, using, or hiring Chinese-made telecommunications services. The two bills specifically name Huawei as an example of a Chinese vendor of questionable reputation.

Cyber security organization specialists have reported multiple hacking events affecting Australian organizations along the most recent years; Australian press and Government have pointed to Chinese-origin hacking groups of the attacks. Anti-China policies have become relevant among member countries of the Five Eyegroup (EU, UK, Canada, New Zealand and Australia), for whom the Asian giant represents one of the biggest threats in cyber security organization, along with North Korea, Russia and Iran.