The potential attack surface expands as 5G connects numerous devices, from IoT devices used in OT and commercial environments to conventional devices used in enterprises. Attacks that exploit device application and endpoint vulnerabilities, and compromised IoT-based DDoS attacks, are expected to increase.
The application of 5G will have a widespread impact across all sectors, with the most significant growth predicted in fields like augmented reality and virtual reality. The new 5G system environments create challenges for network analysis, wired and wireless network planning, and cyber threat analysis.
Beyond increased complexity, there are other considerations when operating in 5G environments. Understanding how 4G and 5G Networks will function simultaneously in the same environment is crucial for organizations to ensure reliable and secure networks.
The need to develop an efficient approach for to understand, evaluate, and protect critical infrastructure, has never been greater. An essential part of the solution lies in new and innovative techniques for modeling and simulating 5G mobile networks.
Expanding Attack Surface
5G has a few significant privacy and security wins – it encrypts identifiers, offers security and privacy gains like spoofing and anti-tracking features. These capabilities can provide significant benefits like protecting users from manipulation and other cyber security.
But at the same time, 5G has its own set of security challenges. It is expected to boost the growth of mobile internet for both individual and enterprise use, thereby creating an explosion of IoT connected devices. Because of IoT growth, the attack surface on 5G networks will be immensely greater with a highly complex ecosystem that has numerous cyber-attack entry points. One of the major issues with expected IoT growth is that for some devices, primarily for the low-cost and low-powered items, security can be non-existent.
Furthermore, security holes remain on 5G as devices still connect to older networks. Even while connected to 5G, users can still be tracked using information that remains unencrypted as it is transmitted due to a flaw in the GSMA standard. Moreover, some flaws in 5G allow for “downgrade” attacks, and threat actors could use unresolved flaws in the older networks to launch an attack.
5G & IoT Security Challenges
Because of the security ecosystem with 5G networks, threat actors can target customers to steal data or use devices to generate attacks without the attacks being noticed.
There could be attacks like large-scale distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks capable of taking down mobile networks, deepfakes, and robocallers powered by artificial intelligence that convincingly impersonate friends or family members.
Enterprises may also discover other kinds of new security challenges, such as employees utilizing 5G networks to send confidential data instead of using the corporate network.
The Critical Role of AI
The complexity of 5G requires the adoption of AI to automate aspects of problem-solving, allowing more effective handling of pattern recognition, intruder hunting, alert prioritization, and more.
AI will become increasingly crucial to cyber security operations once 5G has become widespread. Even though there are some aspects of security operations where a human touch is required, there are other aspects where AI is better equipped than human analysts since it can more easily identify patterns and constantly update itself with new information.
By leveraging AI, automated processes can quickly and regularly aggregate data from disparate point tools and analyze the data, thereby supporting a more adaptive and agile response to cyber threats.