As it continues to face resistance from the West, Huawei is leaving no stone unturned to develop its own mobile operating system. But building a new smartphone software from scratch has its challenges and to ensure it’s free of any security loopholes, the China-based phone maker is reportedly seeking inputs from the people who are most likely to crack it open first.
According to TechCrunch, Huawei invited a handful of the world’s most capable phone hackers to Munich for a secret meeting later this month on November 16. At the meeting, Huawei is rumored to launch an exclusive bug bounty program — a type of initiative most tech companies like Google, Apple, and Facebook have which rewards tinkerers and ethical hackers for submitting security vulnerabilities.
It’s worth mentioning that Huawei sort of already has a section on its website where researchers can send in their discoveries, so it remains unclear what Huawei is hoping to get out of this new program. Sources tell TechCrunch it will primarily focus on Huawei’s existing and future mobile devices. More importantly, it will cover the company’s in-house answer to Google’s Android, HarmonyOS.
In addition, the event is expected to resemble Apple’s covert hacker meetups where the tech giant tasks the industry’s most proven researchers to hack and unearth security oversights by handing them “special dev phones”.
Collaboration with the world’s most renowned hackers could be a way for Huawei to signal Western governments it’s pro-security, open to reviews, and willing to address as well as patch any bugs found on its devices that could jeopardize user privacy. We’ll know more in the coming weeks.
Huawei has had an eventful and taxing past year. An executive order by the Trump administration a few months ago declared it as a national security threat forcing U.S.-based businesses to cut ties with the Chinese company. With U.S.-China trade tensions on the rise and Google revoking its Android license, Huawei has scrambled for alternatives to products it previously depended on U.S. companies for. Apart from Google, a range of corporations were asked to terminate their contracts with Huawei such as chipmakers Qualcomm and Broadcom.
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