KPN customers with an indefinite mobile subscription can be availed of by Chinese tech company Huawei. This is against the Telecommunications Law. Huawei has also violated agreements with KPN partner. This is clear from an internal report from 2010, right De Volkskrant Features.
Huawei was able to listen to “unauthorized, uncensored, and unlimited” KPN phone numbers within KPN and from China. This also included the number of six ministers, then then Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende and Chinese dissidents. Huawei also had an insight into the database with clicked phone numbers – which is not allowed by law. Both companies deny that the wiretapping or customer data has been stolen.
Concerns about KPN’s security have been a problem for years. The Dutch government fears that the Chinese government will obtain sensitive information via “advanced mail”. This mainly relates to the so-called KPN backbone. It is not clear to what extent Huawei is involved in building and managing. The fear is that the Chinese company is abusing the loopholes it has to build in the government services network, for example. For example, what if this back door was converted by Huawei employees into a DoD front door?
KPN always denies that Huawei has easy access to the core of the network. At the end of April 2019, KPN stated that it will leave this portion of the network to another party. However, the Chinese have not been kept out of KPN and Huawei remains a loyal partner of the Dutch telecom company.
Concerns about 5G
It also emerged recently that KPN discovered in 2011 that Huawei employees had access to customer data for Telfort, which was then a subsidiary of KPN. The security concerns of KPN’s core network mainly relate to 5G, the new fast mobile Internet. Huawei plays a role in building it. The data centers contain Huawei equipment, which means that Huawei also provides software to Dutch – or active operators. The fact that they often do business with Huawei has to do with the strong, quasi-monopolistic position that the Chinese have in this area. A company like Ericsson in Sweden and Nokia in Finland can do this and do it, but Huawei is a cheaper supplier and therefore an attractive market tip. Especially in the very competitive mobile market.
In order to contain the risks of Chinese espionage activities – partly under pressure from the United States involved – Chinese technicians for some time now had to request access to do something about KPN. This access is monitored and recorded as part of our security policy. In this secure environment, suppliers cannot access our customer data unauthorized, ”the company previously stated.
The eleven-year-old report says De Volkskrant The future of KPN’s mobile branch is terrifying if findings from this report are leaked. “The continued existence of KPN Mobile is in grave danger as the permits may be revoked or the government and industry may give up their trust in KPN if it becomes known that the Chinese government can eavesdrop on KPN phone numbers and shut down the network.”
According to KPN, “ It has never been confirmed in all the years ” that Huawei has been exploited or that customer data has been stolen from their networks or customer systems. The company says the report in question is a risk analysis, conducted in 2010 by consulting firm Capgemini, on behalf of KPN. KPN explains: “At the time, the intention was specifically to identify risks and address them internally so that the security and integrity of KPN’s systems could be improved and well-informed decisions made, which also happened.” KPN works with several suppliers for its networks, including Ericsson, Huawei and Nokia. We subject all of our suppliers to strict security guidelines and all of them must adhere to KPN’s security policy. ”
Huawei also denies that this is a mistake and states, among other things, that since the company has been active in the Netherlands, it has not been approached by government authorities regarding unauthorized business.
KPN has remained a regular customer of Huawei despite disturbing research
In 2011, KPN used the Huawei customer system with the necessary vulnerabilities. However, the company later entered into business with Huawei again.
Huawei enjoys access to confidential KPN customer data
KPN does not allow Huawei to build a 5G network, but KPN has been relying on Huawei for years for its software, which has been blacklisted in the United States.
“Coffee fanatic. Friendly zombie aficionado. Devoted pop culture practitioner. Evil travel advocate. Typical organizer.”