Huawei suspended from prominent global cybersecurity group

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A staff member stands at the front desk of Huawei’s Cyber Security Lab on July 29, 2019, in Dongguan, Guangzhou. (Image credit: TechNode/Shi Jiayi)

Telecommunications giant Huawei has been suspended from a prominent global cybersecurity trade group amid ongoing US scrutiny of the Chinese company.

Why it matters: While largely unknown, the Forum of Incident Response and Security Teams (FIRST) has become a first responder in major breaches and cybersecurity incidents around the world.

  • The organization’s members include governments, companies, and cybersecurity researchers from across the globe. Notable firms include Accenture, Cisco, Google, Apple, and Alibaba.
  • The company’s suspension could put a vast number of its users at risk given that FIRST members share intelligence about security threats.

Details: FIRST said that the organization resorted to suspending Huawei’s membership to comply with evolving US export regulations after Huawei was blacklisted, which blocked the tech giant from sourcing American components.

  • FIRST called for organizations involved in cybersecurity response to be allowed to cooperate even when sanctions are imposed.
  • The organization said it “regrets” being put in a position where it was forced to suspend Huawei’s membership.
  • The security of the internet is dependent on security professionals around the world being able to work together to mitigate security risks, FIRST said.
  • The organization said it would work with US authorities and Huawei to assuage any concerns about the company’s involvement in its operations.

“When regulation directly affects the ability to cooperate, the stability and security of the internet can be placed at risk.”

—FIRST in a statement

Context: Washington has made repeated calls to limit Huawei’s operations in the US, citing national security concerns.

  • Huawei critics have said that given the company’s Chinese roots, it could be compelled to give up sensitive information to China’s government.
  • The telecom giant was added to the US Department of Commerce’s “entity list” earlier this year, which bars US companies from doing business with it.