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Google, Huawei break will likely lead to security issues for users


President Trump’s executive order blocking Huawei’s products from accessing U.S. networks or technology has resulted in Google retracting its Android license from the company, possibly leading to cybersecurity issues for future owners of Huawei devices.

Google has confirmed that currently available Huawei devices can still be used and services such as the Google Play Store, Google Searches, Gmail, Google Maps and the Chrome browser will continue to work, but moving forward some limitations may occur.

“For Huawei users' questions regarding our steps to comply w/ the recent US government actions: We assure you while we are complying with all US gov't requirements, services like Google Play & security from Google Play Protect will keep functioning on your existing Huawei device,” Google tweeted.

“This will have a serious impact on the user experience and the security of user´s data of Huawei smartphones and tablets,” Alexander Vukcevic, Avira’s Protection Labs and quality assurance director.

Because Huawei loses access to Android all future owners of that company’s devices will lose access to Google Play Store and Gmail and YouTube apps, Reuters reported, and will instead have to rely on the open source version of Android which does not receive security updates as promptly.

“Based on the patterns of behaviors demonstrated by Huawei, we believe Google pulling Huawei's Android license will result in issues and delays for Huawei users, especially should Huawei use the open source version of Android,” said Priscilla Moriuchi, director of strategic threat development at Recorded Future.

Removing access to Google Play Store will also cause a security headache as consumers will no longer have access to vetted apps, she said.

“This is a recipe for disaster; it would unquestionably decrease the integrity of those user's devices and likely result in user data theft or device compromise,” she said.

Intel and Qualcomm have also had to cut their business ties with the manufacturer in order to abide by executive order.

The battle between Huawei and the U.S. government has been on-going for more than a year:

  • February 2018 - when in testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee six top U.S. intelligence officials unanimously agreed that they would advise against government bodies or private citizens using equipment or services from China-based telecommunications companies ZTE or Huawei, due to the risks of potential espionage.
  • November 2018 - the U.S. asked its allies to not use equipment from the Chinese firm.
  • December 2018 - when Meng Wanzhou, Huawei CFO and daughter of founder, was arrested in Canada and held for extradition to U.S.
  • January 2019 - U.S. federal prosecutors filed criminal charges against Huawei alleging the company stole intellectual property from T-Mobile and violated U.S. sanction orders.
  • March 2019 - Microsoft researchers find NSA-style backdoor in Huawei laptops.
  • April 2019 - Backdoors found in Huawei-supplied Vodafone equipment.
  • May 2019 - Amid escalating trade war tensions with China and a lengthy dispute over Huawei Technologies over espionage allegations, President Trump declared a national emergency that bans U.S. telecommunications companies from using equipment from foreign firms that could threaten national security.

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