Post updated June 7th, 2019 at 08:19 pm
To say that the US ban on China has inconvenienced Huawei in more ways than one would be a gross understatement. The ban was signed because the US government believes that the brand’s equipment poses a threat to national security. Google, however, is now trying to convince its government that prohibiting Huawei’s devices from using Android poses and even greater security risk.
According to a report by the Financial Times, Google argues that by cutting off Android support to Huawei and its smart devices, the US government effectively opens up new avenues of vulnerabilities and for hackers and cyber-criminals to attack it. Due to the ban, Google says that a “forked” version of Android could be used by Huawei, and that in itself leaves the US at an even greater risk of being hacked. Not least by China.
While the Financial Times were vague as to how this would be an issue, The Verge actually laid out an example using a four-step scenario. The news site goes to explain that if Huawei would hypothetically use a forked version of Android, it would firstly no longer include Google’s services. Chief among those services is Google Play Protect that automatically scans for malware, viruses, and a whole lot of other security threats.
This means that these Huawei phones with the modified version of Android are less secure, and therefor are more vulnerable to being hacked. And before you think that this isn’t a problem, given that the phone isn’t in circulation in the US, imagine what would happen if someone from the US were to send mission-critical data or information to someone using one of these phones. Further, we’re not all so diligent to actually verify if the phones of the recipient are “safe”.
Of course, all of the above is simply a hypothetical and “what if” scenario. For now, it is unknown if Google’s counterpoint to the US about shutting Huawei out of the Android ecosystem will work. For now, Huawei is reportedly waiting to see “how Google talks evolve”. It may not have to wait long either; Google’s temporary license to supply all currently existing Huawei and HONOR devices with security updates expires on 19 August.