The Ministry of Defense of Lithuania has warned consumers against using mobile phones made in China and urged them to dispose of them.
A report by the National Cyber Information Center was based on that researchers found that “Xiaomi” phones contain censorship software, and that Huawei phones are vulnerable to electronic attacks.
Huawei’s management said it does not send data to third parties.
“We recommend not to buy new Chinese phones and get rid of the old ones as soon as possible,” Lithuania’s Deputy Defense Minister Margres Apokevicius said.
It was found that Xiaomi phones Mi 10T 5G phoneIt has programs capable of recognizing expressions such as “free Tibet,” “Long live Taiwan independence,” and “democratic movement,” the report said.
The report drew attention to 449 linguistic expressions that could be censored in Xiaomi phone applications, including the Internet browser.
This feature has been disabled in these phones in Europe, but the report says that it can be restarted remotely at any time.
Xiaomi has not yet responded to the BBC’s request for comment on the matter.
The report also found that Xiaomi devices transmit encrypted data to a server in Singapore.
“This is important, not only for Lithuania, but for all countries where Xiaomi devices are used,” the National Cyber Information Center said.
Xiaomi has grown in popularity significantly due to its affordable devices, and the company saw a 64 percent increase in revenue in the second quarter of the year compared to the previous year.
The report pointed to vulnerabilities in Huawei’s P40 5G phones, which expose users to cyber attacks.
And “the official website of Huawei applications directs users to third-party online stores, and a careful examination has found some applications malicious or have cyber viruses,” according to a joint statement by the Ministry of Defense of Lithuania and the National Center for Cyber Security.
A Huawei spokesperson told the BBC that the company complies with the laws of the countries in which it operates, and prioritizes cybersecurity and privacy.
“The data is not processed outside the device. We only collect the data we need in order for our customers to be able to search for, download and use third-party apps, in the same way as other app stores.” Huawei also makes sure that the apps that users try to download are safe.
He also checked another device using the 5G network made by OnePlus and found no problems with the device.
The publication of the report comes at a time when relations between Lithuania and China are getting tense. Last month, China asked Lithuania to withdraw its ambassador, and said it would withdraw its ambassador from the Lithuanian capital in turn.
Disagreements between the two countries began when Taiwan announced that the name of its representation in Lithuania would be “Taiwanese Representative Office”.
Taiwan’s embassies and representations in Europe and the United States use the name of the capital, Taipei, to avoid referring to the island as a country, as China considers it part of its territory.
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