Lithuania wishes the public to discard all Chinese phones

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The Defence Ministry of Lithuania has warned consumers to discard their Chinese phones and avoid purchasing them.

A report by its National Cyber Security Centre tested 5G mobiles from Chinese producers.

Researchers acknowledged that one Xiaomi phone had in-built censorship. Huawei models on the other hand could be exposed to cyber-attacks.

According to Huawei, no user data is sent externally.

“Our recommendation is to not buy new Chinese phones, and to get rid of those already purchased as fast as reasonably possible,” said Defence Deputy Minister Margiris Abukevicius.

Xiaomi

Mi 10T 5G phone is the star of the brand Xiaomi. 

As per the reports it was found to have software that could detect and censor terms including “Free Tibet”, “Long live Taiwan independence” or “democracy movement”. 

More than 449 terms could be censored by the Xiaomi phone’s system apps. This also includes the default internet browser.

It was also found that the device was transporting encrypted phone usage data to a server in Singapore.

“This is important not only to Lithuania but to all countries which use Xiaomi equipment,” the Centre said.

Xiaomi has climbed in popularity with affordable models, seeing a 64% rise in revenue in its second-quarter as compared to last year.

Huawei P40

The report also emphasized a flaw in Huawei’s P40 5G phone, which put users at risk of cyber-security breaches.

“The official Huawei application 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,” a joint statement by the Lithuanian Ministry of Defence and its National Cyber Security Centre said.

A Huawei spokesman said that it stands by the laws and protocols of the countries where it operates.

It also prioritises cyber-security and privacy.

“Data is never processed outside the Huawei device,” he added.

“AppGallery only collects and processes the data necessary to allow its customers to search, install and manage third-party apps, in the same way as other app stores.”

Huawei also performs security checks to ensure the user only downloads “apps which are safe,” he said.

Furthermore, the team also examined the 5G model by OnePlus but found no issues in it.

This report was released because of rising tensions between Lithuania and China.

The previous month, China demanded that Lithuania remove its ambassador from Beijing and said it would withdraw its envoy from Vilnius.

 

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