Chinese 5G smartphones with security gaps? – Warning from Lithuania

5G China

Do users of 5G smartphones from Chinese manufacturers Huawei, Xiaomi and OnePlus have to fear security gaps and censorship? The Lithuanian government warns against the use of Chinese cell phones.

The Lithuanian government has warned of security flaws and built-in censorship features in Chinese cell phones. According to the state center for cybersecurity in Vilnius, four key cybersecurity risks were identified in an investigation of three 5G smartphones from the manufacturers Huawei, Xiaomi and OnePlus. Two of them are linked to pre-installed apps and the other two with the risk of losing personal data and possible restrictions on freedom of expression, said the authority, which is subordinate to the Ministry of Defense of the Baltic EU and NATO country.

Censorship of downloaded content – no security holes with OnePlus

When analyzing the Xiaomi device, it was found that it was technically capable of censoring the content downloaded on it. Accordingly, it could recognize and block terms such as “Free Tibet” or “Democracy Movement”, it said in the message. This function is deactivated for cell phones sold in Europe, but can also be switched on remotely at any time. With Huawei phones, there are concerns in connection with the official app store, which is forwarding to unsafe providers. At OnePlus, on the other hand, no security flaws were discovered.

Lithuania warns against buying and using mobile phones from Chinese manufacturers

The government in Vilnius advised Lithuanian consumers to avoid buying cell phones from Chinese manufacturers and stop using devices that were already in use. Huawei rejected the concerns after a report by the agency BNS. “User data is never processed outside of the Huawei device,” said the Lithuanian representative of the Chinese tech group.

Diplomatic tensions between Lithuania and China

According to the authority, the three manufacturers were selected for the study because cybersecurity risks in their products had been identified in public databases. In Lithuania itself, around 200 public authorities have acquired their cell phones with the fast 5G cellular standard.

There had been diplomatic tensions between Lithuania and China in recent months. The background to this was the decision by the government in Vilnius to establish closer ties with Taiwan.

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