Building a secure 5G future: Addressing cybersecurity concerns – ET Edge Insights – ET Edge Insights

5 minutes, 25 seconds Read

5G resulting in a higher number of attack surfaces and entry points.

5G technology has introduced a world of innovation for businesses, offering a significant leap in connectivity and innovation. However, with this rapid innovation, security concerns centering on 5G loom large. The complex 5G infrastructure, with its reliance on cloud services and a vast network of devices, creates a much larger attack surface compared to its predecessors.

Moreover, the 5G infrastructure is far more complex and has a large set of connected devices, resulting in a higher number of attack surfaces and entry points. Thus, it is critical to upgrade monitoring and threat detection to prevent a single compromised device from impacting thousands.

As more organizations move towards digitalization and embrace 5G connectivity for higher efficiency and better business outcomes, it’s vital to check for security loopholes in this technology to ensure the protection of sensitive consumer data and their network from malicious threat actors.

How Does 5G Pose Cybersecurity Risks?

While 5G promises a future of hyper-connectivity and innovation, its very strengths introduce new cybersecurity challenges. For instance, the features that make 5G powerful—its intricate, software-defined architecture and ability to manage massive data volumes—also create a vast attack surface for malicious actors. Here’s how 5G contributes to the increased cyber risks:

1. Software-defined networking

5G is based on SDN, unlike its predecessor. While SDN offers flexibility, it also introduces new attack surfaces. Traditional networks had dedicated hardware for routing and security, making vulnerabilities easier to identify and manage. SDN relies on software running on general-purpose hardware, creating more potential entry points for attackers to exploit.

2. Higher network vulnerabilities

5G networks are inherently more complex than 4G. They rely on a broader range of technologies, have more traffic routing points, and leverage network slicing. This complexity creates more opportunities for vulnerabilities, increasing the risk of successful cyberattacks such as data breaches, man-in-the-middle attacks, unauthorized user activity tracking, service disruptions, and more.

3. Proliferation of IoT devices

The rapid growth of IoT is supported by higher connectivity by 5G in every industry, be it wearables, health tech, or industrial sensors. While convenient and innovative, these devices often have weak security protocols and limited processing power, making them easy targets for attackers. Once compromised, these devices can become gateways into the broader network, exposing sensitive data.

4. Increased data collection

Due to the high number of connected devices and the increased data transfer speeds, 5G networks will generate massive amounts of data. This data can include sensitive information such as personal data, financial information, and industrial secrets. If this data is not adequately secured, attackers could intercept and use it for malicious purposes.

Best Practices for Enterprises to Shield their Networks from 5G Based Threats

The rise of 5G brings both immense potential and new cybersecurity concerns. To navigate this landscape, organizations need a robust and holistic security infrastructure. This starts with a comprehensive cybersecurity plan that incorporates best practices, utilizes cutting-edge security solutions, and prioritizes ongoing threat monitoring. Maintaining strong cyber and cloud hygiene is also crucial.

5G
Shibu Paul-VP International Sales, Array Network

While implementing every security practice might not be feasible, organizations should focus on establishing a solid foundation. This will allow them to confidently embrace new technologies like 5G while minimizing the associated security risks. Here are a few starting points for enterprises seeking protection against sophisticated attacks:

1. Encryption

With 5G’s vast data traffic, including sensitive information, robust encryption algorithms like AES (Advanced Encryption Standard) become even more critical in protecting data transmission over the network. Without proper encryption practices in place, hackers could not only capture sensitive data but also identify the types of devices being used, such as smartphones or PCs, which equips them with better precision to plan their attacks.

2. Zero trust policies

Zero trust prevents unauthorized devices from exploiting vulnerabilities in the network by continuously requiring authentication, even for devices that have already

been granted access. This approach only allows authorized devices to access specific resources and limits the potential damage if a device is compromised.

3. Stronger password protection

While important in any network, enhanced password protection becomes even more important due to the potential for more access points and a more comprehensive range of connectable devices in the 5G ecosystem. This could include everything from traditional laptops to industrial control systems or connected vehicles.

To minimize unauthorized access, particularly for critical systems managed by privileged accounts, organizations can leverage advanced authentication methods like multi-factor authentication or even passwordless solutions. These techniques go beyond traditional passwords, adding an extra layer of security that deters attackers.

4. Decentralized security

5G networks rely heavily on software-defined networking for flexibility, introducing new vulnerabilities. By distributing security measures across the network, including firewalls and intrusion detection systems (IDS) closer to the network edge (where devices connect), organizations can prevent a single point of failure and ensure compromised devices in one part of the network don’t bring down the entire system. This distributed approach is crucial for 5G’s complex architecture.

5. Update security patches

Since 5G is a relatively new technology, its ecosystem constantly evolves. Organizations should maintain a proactive update schedule for all network equipment, user devices, and software applications This vigilance is essential to avoid evolving threats in the 5G landscape.

Finally, regular security practices like backups and software updates are even more critical in a 5G environment. With a potentially more significant attack surface and the ever-evolving threat landscape, prompt patching of vulnerabilities in network equipment and 5G-compatible devices becomes essential.

Regular backups ensure critical data can be recovered in case of a ransomware attack or other disruptions, and employee security awareness training becomes even more important to educate staff on the new security risks associated with 5G technologies and how to identify and avoid social engineering scams or phishing attempts that target 5G-connected devices.

Conclusion

While traditional cyber hygiene practices and gradual technology adoption have been the cornerstones of cybersecurity, the arrival of 5G demands a more proactive approach. 5G’s swiftness and complexity create fertile ground for sophisticated attacks that require organizations to prioritize continuous vigilance.

This vigilance requires constant monitoring of networks and security systems to stay ahead of evolving threats. By prioritizing proactive monitoring, staying informed about threats, and conducting thorough due diligence, organizations can leverage the immense potential of 5G while mitigating the associated cybersecurity risks.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ET Edge Insights, its management, or its members

This post was originally published on 3rd party site mentioned in the title of this site

Similar Posts