Advice for Huawei customers after US gives company a temporary general license

The temporary general licence means that Huawei customers should be able to update their handsets as normal.

On Wednesday 15 May 2019, the United States of America’s Commerce Department placed Huawei and 70 affiliates on its “Entity List”, meaning that Huawei’s US suppliers would be unable to provide products and support without US Government approval.

In the short term, the main cyber security impact on Huawei’s existing handset customers would be on the availability of software updates for Android. There are different types of updates for Android which would be affected in different ways.

On Monday 20 May 2019, the US Commerce Department issued a temporary general licence (TGL) restoring Huawei’s ability to maintain some existing products – for consumers, this is restricted to handsets. The TGL is currently set to expire on 19 August 2019.

The NCSC understands that the TGL allows companies to provide support and services to handsets that were available to the public before 16 May 2019. Each company will make its own choice about whether to do so.

What does this mean for Huawei customers?

Customers should continue to update their devices as normal, in line with existing NCSC advice. Our advice will be updated if we become aware of any security concerns.

The NCSC continues to assess the situation and will provide actionable advice for Huawei customers.

For Huawei’s Android consumer products, Google is a main supplier. It has been widely reported that Google restricted its dealings with Huawei in response to the Entity Listing. Google have not yet made an announcement over how the TGL affects their position.

Jason Davies

UK based technology professional, with an interest in computer security and telecoms.

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