British telecoms group Vodafone tackled a security flaw with Huawei technology a decade ago, it revealed today amid widespread concerns over the Chinese giant developing 5G networks abroad.

Bloomberg reported that Vodafone, Europe's biggest mobile phone company, identified hidden so-called backdoors in software.

This could have handed Huawei unauthorised access to the carrier's fixed-line network in Italy used to connect to the internet.  

The financial news wire cited Vodafone's security briefing documents from 2009 and 2011. 

Vodafone told Bloomberg that the issues were resolved.

Responding to the report, Huawei said in a statement: "We were made aware of historical vulnerabilities in 2011 and 2012 and they were addressed at the time. Software vulnerabilities are an industry-wide challenge." 

Huawei added that it has "a well established public notification and patching process, and when a vulnerability is identified we work closely with our partners to take the appropriate corrective action". 

Huawei is facing pushback in some Western markets over fears Beijing could spy on communications and gain access to critical infrastructure if allowed to develop foreign 5G networks offering instantaneous mobile data transfer. 

The US is adamantly opposed to Huawei's involvement because of the firm's obligation under Chinese law to help its home government gather intelligence or provide other security services when required. 

British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt has meanwhile urged caution over the role of China's Huawei in the UK, saying the government should think carefully before opening its doors to the technology giant to develop next-generation mobile networks. 

His comments yesterday came after media reports said Prime Minister Theresa May had conditionally allowed Huawei to build the UK 5G network.

Meanwhile, a US official said yesterday that if European allies use Huawei in future fifth generation or 5G networks the US will have to reassess its ability to share information with them. 

Speaking during an online press briefing, Robert Strayer, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Cyber and International Communications and Information Policy at the Department of State, said the threat posed by the use of such equipment represents a "loaded gun". 

Even using Huawei in non-core parts of 5G networks is a risk, he said, but added that the concerns are focused on security, not trade. 

Mr Strayer said the US wants to maintain a secure cyberspace for future generations and it and its partners recognise that cyber policy issues are critical to not just protecting communications networks but also to national security, human rights and economic prosperity around the world.