Lithuania Tells People To Throw Away Chinese Smartphones Due To “Cybersecurity Risks”

Lithuania’s National Cyber Security Centre (NKSC) released a new report Thursday urging consumers to throw away their Chinese smartphones due to cybersecurity and censorship risks. 

NKSC, which is part of the Defense Ministry, found that Chinese smartphone brand Xiaomi had built-in censorship tools to detect and censor phrases such as “Free Tibet,” “Long live Taiwan independence,” “People’s daily newspaper,” and “democracy movement,” among others. It noted Xiaomi’s Mi 10T 5G phones had the software turned off for European customers, but the report stressed the tools could be remotely turned on at any time. 

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

Besides Xiaomi’s Mi 10T 5G, the security assessment examined Huawei’s P40 5G3 and found cybersecurity risks to users. There was no mention of risks for OnePlus’s 8T 5G. 

Deputy Defense Minister Margiris Abukevicius said consumers should discard these mobile devices and purchase new ones that are not from Chinese companies: 

“We strongly recommend that state and public institutions not use those devices and plan to initiate legislation which regulates acquiring certain devices for the ministries and various state agencies,” Abukevicius said. 

NKSC said the security assessment is intended “to ensure the safe use of 5G mobile devices sold in our country and the software they contain.” 

When it came to Huawei’s P40 5G phone, the report found risks 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.”

It’s crucial to note relations between NATO ally Lithuania and China have deteriorated as of recent. The Baltic country approved Taiwan to open a representative office in Vilnius, the capital, and be named the Taiwanese Representative Office in Lithuania later this year. Beijing soured over the word “Taiwanese” in the name of the office because it contradicts the “One China” policy that Europe and the US follow. 

The growing rift between Lithuania and China is a wake-up call for other European countries. 

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Here’s the full report: 

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