Lithuania Warns Citizens Over 5G Chinese Phones

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Lithuania warns its citizens to stop using smartphones from three Chinese firms after finding some “cyber and personal data security risks”

Lithuanian officials are urging its citizens to stop using 5G smartphones built by three Chinese handset makers.

Indeed, the Lithuanian Defence Deputy Minister even recommended that citizens get rid of the already purchased phones as soon as possible.

It comes after a report by the Lithuanian National Cyber Security Centre, that investigated 5G phones made by Chinese manufacturers Xiaomi, Huawei & OnePlus. “The initial results of the investigation show some cyber and personal data security risks,” it tweeted.

Lithuanian report

The Lithuanian National Cyber Security Centre report provided details of its investigation into the handsets from the above mentioned Chinese manufacturers, finding problems with two of them.

The security assessment was carried out on the Huawei P40 5G, Xiaomi Mi 10T 5G and OnePlus 8T 5G mobile handsets.

The report found that the Huawei P40 model could be vulnerable to cyber-attacks due to the way of installing mobile applications.

This is because the official Huawei app store (AppGallery) directs users to third-party e-stores where some of the applications have been assessed by anti-virus programs as malicious or infected with viruses.

Huawei’s representative in the Baltics reportedly told the BNS news wire its phones do not send user data externally.

The Xiaomi Mi 10T handset meanwhile had built-in censorship tools, that could detect and censor terms including “Free Tibet”, “Long live Taiwan independence” or “democracy movement”.

This is switched off for European handsets but could be remotely activated, the report found.

The report however did not seem to locate any issues with the OnePlus handset.

Yet that did not stop Lithuanian officials from recommending that all Chinese handsets should be discarded as soon as possible.

“Our recommendation is to not buy new Chinese phones, and to get rid of those already purchased as fast as reasonably possible,” deputy minister of defence Margiris Abukevicius was quoted by the Guardian as telling reporters when introducing the report.

China tensions

It should be noted the report comes amid growing tensions between Lithuania and China.

China reportedly demanded last month that Lithuania withdraw its ambassador in Beijing and said it would recall its envoy to Vilnius.

This was because Taiwan announced that its mission in Lithuania would be called the Taiwanese Representative Office.

Taiwanese missions in Europe and the US use the name of the city Taipei, avoiding a reference to the island itself, which China claims as its own territory.

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Author: Tom Jowitt
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