Czech National Cyber and Information Security Agency (NCISA) has warned mobile operators against using Chinese telecom equipment from Huawei and ZTE, saying they posed a security threat.
“China’s laws … require private companies residing in China to cooperate with intelligence services, therefore introducing them into the key state systems might present a threat,” Dusan Navratil, director of the Czech National Cyber and Information Security Agency (NCISA), said in a statement.
System administrators in critical information infrastructure, whether in the state or private sector, should take “adequate measures” against the threat, Navratil said.
The Czech government agency added that its warning notice was based on its findings and on those of allies, Reuters reported.
Huawei, the world’s biggest producer of telecoms equipment, faces intense scrutiny in the West over its ties to the Chinese government and concerns its equipment could be used by Beijing for spying. The company has repeatedly denied the allegations.
“We categorically deny any suggestion that we pose a threat to national security. We call for NCISA to provide evidence instead of tarnishing Huawei’s reputation without any proof,” a Huawei spokesman said.
Cyber security had always been Huawei’s top priority and Huawei was a trusted partner for all the main telecom carriers in Czech Republic, he said.
“There are no laws or regulations in China to compel Huawei, or any other company, to install ‘mandatory back doors’,” he said, a reference to U.S. warnings that Huawei’s network gear could contain ‘back doors’ that would allow Chinese spies to hack into critical network infrastructure.
Some operators have tested 5G in some locations in the Czech Republic, while the investment group PPF, which owns the leading infrastructure provider, CETIN, has signed a memorandum of understanding with Huawei to cooperate on 5G. An auction of frequencies for the 5G transmission is planned for 2019.