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‘Telcos must conduct special security audit of networks’

The Department of Telecom has directed all telecom services providers in the country to carry out a special audit of their networks by an external agency to ensure security, Parliament was informed on Thursday.

The move assumes significance as it comes at a time when there are renewed discussions in the country over allowing the use of telecom equipment supplied by China-headquartered firms due to security and surveillance concerns. “Government is aware that in the modern age, the telecom equipment and networks used for provisioning of telecom services are prone to spyware/malwares, including the backdoor and trapdoor vulnerabilities,” Minister of State for Communications and IT Sanjay Dhotre said in a written reply to the Rajya Sabha.

Mr. Dhotre added that as per license conditions, each licensee had to get their networks audited for security once in a financial year by a network audit and certification agency. “Further, the DoT, on December 6, directed the telecom service providers... to carry out Special Security Audit of their network,” he said.

The telcos include BSNL, MTNL, Reliance Jio, Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea.

Replying to a query on the use of Chinese equipment, Mr. Dhotre said state-owned BSNL had 44.4% of its mobile network equipment from ZTE and 9% from Huawei, while 10% of MTNL’s network equipment was from Chinese equipment manufacturers.

Reliance Jio had not deployed any equipment from ZTE and Huawei, he added.

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Printable version | Nov 29, 2020 5:21:15 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/business/telcos-must-conduct-special-security-audit-of-networks/article32633855.ece

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