Security controversy over Chinese company Huawei’s 5G equipment is continuing prior to the selection of network equipment makers by KT and LG U+. SK Telecom has already excluded Huawei from the list of its 5G equipment partners.
Industry watchers say Korean mobile service users have grave concern over the alleged security problems of Huawei equipment. On the internet, some LG U+ users even said they needed to think about switching to other mobile carriers if LG U+ chose Huawei equipment for its 5G network.
Major foreign news outlets recently reported that microchips believed to be used for surveillance by the Chinese government were found in data center servers of more than 30 companies and organizations including Apple, Amazon Web Services (AWS) and the U.S. Department of Defense.
In 2016, a back door program was found in Huawei smartphones that could transmit location information of users in the U.S., according to reports. This program was actually created by Chinese software company Adups Technology. Even though some people said that Huawei smartphone users themselves might have downloaded the program. But in the internet world, a rumor has been going around that Huawei steals information by creating the backdoor device.
The spy chip scandal has amplified concerns over Huawei's 5G equipment. LG U+, which is likely to introduce Huawei equipment, said it would carry out its own security checks on Huawei 5G equipment, but users’ concerns are not showing any sign of dying down.
The Korean government is also showing a lukewarm attitude. The government has formed the 5G Security Technological Advisory Council composed of experts from the industry, research labs and academia, but this council only plays supporting roles such as giving technological advice on self-security checks when establishing a 5G network, sharing security technology trends and reviewing countermeasures. It is of little help to mobile operators as it does not provide technology verification services.