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Can you block Huawei devices from accessing your website or app?

Although given a 90 day stay of execution, Huawei will no longer be able to include popular Google services and apps on their new devices. For a website/app owner, is it possible to block Huawei devices from accessing your services? It is, but we don't recommend it.

James Kielty - 27 May 2019
3 min read

Can you block Huawei devices from accessing your website or app_

Earlier in May, Google announced they had cut off Huawei's Android licence. This was to comply with the US Commerce Department's decision to place the Chinese company on the "Entity List", a list of companies that must seek government approval to buy technology from US companies.

Although they've been given a 90 day stay of execution, the move means Huawei will no longer be able to include popular Google services and apps on their new devices. These include Play Services, the Play Store, Gmail and Youtube, so the attractiveness of a Huawei device for Android fans will no doubt wane.

There's talk of Huawei creating their own Mobile OS in response, but due to market share and inertia, it's unlikely this alone can save or maintain Huawei's recent astronomical growth rate.

We've discussed how the ongoing trade war has affected Huawei popularity in the US and the UK, which was growing throughout 2018. However, there's recently been news of consumers returning their Huawei devices in record numbers to trade-in and reseller websites.

It seems the US pressure may finally be trickling down to consumers who fear their smartphones will soon be lacking security updates.

For website and app owners, there may come the day when a government insists Huawei users are refused access or service. If this comes, blocking a particular manufacturer could cause problems due to the nature of device identification. Using User Agents in their raw form to do this requires previous knowledge of all the strings generated by Huawei devices, and a rule to block access set up for each.

Simple Rule for Device Exclusion

To avoid this task, DeviceAtlas' device identification can handle help. Using "Device Vendor", one of 187 device properties available, this task now becomes quite straightforward. This one simple rule will allow you identify and block, or restrict, all devices manufactured by Huawei (and whoever else eventually ends up on the Entity List). To learn more about how this works, click here.

So, now you know it's possible to exclude specific device's based on the manufacturer. On the DeviceAssure blog, our security product which can accurately identify counterfeit devices in real-time, we discussed whether this was a good idea. The alleged threats from Huawei devices still exist on counterfeits, so taking your eye off the ball to focus on one single entity could leave vulnerabilities elsewhere.

Click here to read why we're not sure this would be a good strategy for your security.

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