While 5G can be considered a revolutionary innovation, it comes with increased chances of cyber-attacks
Thirty years ago, the first generation of mobile data was introduced. Each new development since then has been revolutionary. Contrarily, experts claim that up to 4G, the core has been almost the same. The only difference – each of the innovations consisted of new and upgraded hardware.
Meanwhile, the recent buzz over 5G has been downplayed. It replaces hardware with software, and it is a true technological advancement. Adding revolutionary to the mix, all future upgrades of 5G will no longer require making and physically installing network infrastructure. All it needs is a digital update, similar to software updates in mobile phones.
The possibility of increased cybercrimes due to 5G is the only cause of major concern. With more extensive software, bigger threats can be expected. Previously, networks consisted of “choke points” that had the capability to block malicious threats that could otherwise create havoc. These chokepoints that were a part of the hardware system have been completely removed.
Some governments who had removed some hardware from their 5G core were the first to realize that it entailed huge risks. Their major concern was the possibility of a vulnerability that a foreign government could deliberately introduce. As a result, many countries have are embracing Open Networks Cores or multivendor cores over single providers. Nevertheless, global businesses still face considerable threats.
A critical area of risk is availability compromise, where the hacker displaces the network and takes it offline. Disrupting businesses, it will most likely cause significant data and revenue loss. Experts believe that the only method to steer clear of availability compromise is to include several 5G networks, use multiple vendors or use a private, local 5G network. An offline, fixed backup could also be incorporated.
With the loss of network comes the loss of data. Data compromise is another area of risk where third parties hack into the device with 5G network and either steal or destroy the device data. For instance, many organizations use CCTV devices that collect sensitive, private data. Infiltration of such devices would cause global panic, and the particular organization would be liable to the data protection regulations.
The speed of 5G is equally susceptible to threats. With faster speed, bad actors can steal data in much less time. Earlier, high network traffic was a sign of conspicuous activity and organizations would be on high alert. Now, with high speed, high volume network, it would hardly be noticeable.
Although a potential risk, the speed will also uncover maximum potential of the Internet of Things (IoT). A device can connect to another with faster network speed, making it possible for the collection of data in real-time.
However, this increase of integrated objects in a single network is also dangerous as unauthorized users will now have several entry points. Additionally, it is not only smartphones, laptops, and CCTV devices that will be connected to the 5G network. Devices like wearables and security systems will also come under the radar.
To adapt to the growing cybersecurity challenges, network providers and other organizations will have to re-strategize and adjust to the changing circumstances. Experts urge considerable caution because today, even mobile phones need firewalls. Network providers most likely should offer and sell value-added products to manage the risks. Packages with in-build malware or adware blocks and analysis tools can help in minimizing the risk of these compromises.
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