Cyber security is a team game


The growing sophistication of cybercriminals who exploit digital vulnerabilities poses a real threat to us all. Only through joint efforts will we be able to stop them.

You only need to know what is happening on the dark web to see that cybercriminals are getting better and better at what they do and that they are starting to collaborate. This is why the cybersecurity industry also needs collaboration. From users, operators, builders, designers and suppliers to installers and everyone else, getting in through all of these links in the chain is critical. Security at its core should be a team game.

In cybersecurity, everyone has a role to play, from the initial development of new software to each end user at home. The pandemic has highlighted how important the end user is in ensuring robust cybersecurity in their homes and work; attacks occur at multiple levels and are no longer purely technical. However, they are not the only players. Each participant in the supply chain has a role to play, and different parts of the supply chain see different risks and can contribute differently. We are all responsible for the safe and secure transfer of technology into everyone’s hands.

Safety is all about collaboration

Back to the basics, the phrase “safety by design” is often used in the industry when we talk about creating a product. To fulfill this principle, software developers must have a complete understanding of existing threats and understand how they work. The only way to achieve this is through collaboration across the entire supply chain. Working in isolation will only lead to incorrect or missing information.

Our products are a great example of the benefits that working on all of these links can bring. We are just one part of the chain. Huawei does not operate networks – we provide technology on networks. It is a small part that is integrated with many other parts.

We take the biggest steps forward when all industry stakeholders work together to develop a set of standards that will help the entire industry. Common standards create economies of scale that everyone benefits from. This means the industry can continuously innovate. If cyber innovation is provided to one organization, we will all become weaker as a result.

Take the unit price of a 4G phone as an example. In many cases, you can buy it for less than $ 50. Such low cost would be unthinkable if you had five or six different sets of standards around the world, because you would not benefit from such economies of scale. It took several generations to have separate wireless standards in different regions before we arrived at the global universal 3G wireless standard. The improvements in the telecommunications industry are enormous. 4G security is better than 3G, and 5G is significantly better than 4G. It is the result of working together and identifying weaknesses, eliminating them, and trying to anticipate new threats.

But geopolitics too often can get in the way of cooperation. Putting politics over technology leads to the fragmentation of standards – a huge step backward. If we all end up with different technologies for different places, it will take us 20 to 30 years back.

Innovation doesn’t have to be political

We need to maintain trust, which means we need to have a voice and dialogue based on innovation and investment in research and development (R&D) without allowing politics to interfere.

5G technology involves connecting billions of devices to masts. It is a key driver for the development of the Internet of Things, which will flourish in the coming years. Connected devices will range from monitors that keep track of what’s in your refrigerator, the outside temperature and your heart rate, to electric and autonomous vehicles, and widespread use in industry and high-value manufacturing. …

It is no longer as easy as smartphones are multiple devices. Keeping these devices protected at all times is vital. Government is an extremely important stakeholder in all of this, and you can give the UK government credit for preventing threats by setting security standards for the Internet of Things. These standards mean that if someone in Asia builds a device for the UK market, they know how they should build those devices. This is very useful not least for manufacturers, but also for end users who have a guaranteed level of security.

In 5G, this is even more relevant for business applications, so the private sector can rely more on sensors and data from connected devices when it comes to things like on-time logistics and manufacturing, smart manufacturing and whatever is needed. according to big data. Different sectors can have a high level of trust due to the assurance of this basic level of security. In turn, this will lead to wider adoption and increased opportunities for further investment and innovation. This creates a favorable circle of improvement, rather than creating mistrust in the industry. If we are not allowed to take advantage of new technologies, it is bad for the economy as a whole.

Huawei is a hardware manufacturer. We make fittings. What we excel at is innovation, which is why we invest so much in research and development. Last year, our R&D spending was $ 22 billion, which compares to the entire UK government’s target of £ 22 billion a year. Huge sums of money go to the development of design-safe products. We work with others in the industry to create a high set of security standards and a security ecosystem, so our key contributions are some of the major innovation and research and development that will enable patents and technologies to support customers.

Our contribution to common standards is basic research and development, which are then complemented by specific customer initiatives. Our key message is team play. These are end users, operators, governments, suppliers, standards bodies and many others, and it is the relationship between them that creates a secure environment. We risk losing all the benefits of innovation if we begin fragmentation by country of origin and political machinations. Technology and innovation must go beyond that. ●

Jeremy Thompson – Executive Vice President Huawei UK


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