Foreign hardware and software vendors have been facing the telecom security heat around the world. Even in India there have been lots of security concerns regarding imported electronic hardware and software components.
For instance, Huawei and ZTE have already faced telecom security issues in India. Similarly, India is also considering making the norms for import of telecom equipments in India more stringent. The security agencies of India have gone to the extent of even suggesting for the developing indigenously manufactured cyber security software.
India experts have also suggested starting India’s own social media platforms. India has also proposed a new policy that would give preferential market access (PMA) to domestic telecom manufacturers for government contracts. Clearly, the Indian mood is to support and encourage indigenously manufactured hardware and software components.
Foreign hardware and software vendors can relax a little bit in this regard as Indian government has postponed the testing requirement till April 1, 2014. This comes as a big relief to all imported mobile phones, sim cards, 3G & 4G base stations, customer database servers, etc that would have been required to undergo the requisite telecom security testing.
The earlier deadline for this testing was 1ST October 2013 but the absence of global standards for conducting security tests on handsets, sims and telecom network devices, and lack of clarity on who will set up the proposed test lab in the country has delayed the project.
The document for accreditation of testing labs is now likely to be released by October 2013, instead of September, while the accreditation process itself will start from January 1, 2014, according to an internal telecom department document seen by Economic Times.
Till now 25 telecom products have been identified in India that will be screened at an authorised test lab in India. Twelve of these items have been classified “high risk items”, which need to be “security checked” from April 1 now.
Telecom operators had opposed the October 1 date, saying that there were still no established global telecom standards for security testing of core network elements, mobile handsets and sim cards.
Some handset makers had even suggested that subjecting imported handsets to security checks would hurt growth since smartphone makers would be unable to launch latest devices in India on time.
The home ministry of India, however, has repeatedly warned that “the embedded software can be manipulated”.