5G is the most recent wireless technology in the early stages of implementation. According to the Ericsson Mobility Report, by 2027, 50% of all mobile connections will be 5G. 5G aims to transform the network by delivering lower latency and faster speeds than 4G, paving the way for an IoT future. However, it comes with inherent cybersecurity dangers that businesses must manage before becoming common in the workplace.
The following section dives into cybersecurity threats and how IT experts might manage them while establishing 5G networks in a business setting.
5G Cybersecurity Threats
There are four major threats that businesses face as they shift to 5G.
Exposing IoT devices to threat actors
Network appliances, business, consumer electronics, and industrial IoT (IIoT) devices have spurred the phenomenal growth of IoT systems. Many IoT functionalities will be enhanced by 5G networks, resulting in a boom of IoT devices and a cybersecurity risk for which businesses and individuals are unprepared.
IoT devices are often insecure since their design promotes ease of connectivity and use. Every week, unexpected problems in IoT systems are discovered, whether due to a lack of security, configuration errors, or a delay in updating. As per Forescout Research, 33 IoT flaws will affect four open-source TCP/IP stacks in 2020 (FNET, PicoTCP, and Nut/Net). Those stacks, according to Forescount, are the core networking parts of millions of devices in the world.
Hackers will be able to execute network attacks sooner than ever before, thanks to 5G’s greater connection. For example, attackers might exploit weaknesses to swiftly disseminate malware over IoT networks, interrupt supply chains, or initiate a DDoS attack using a cluster of devices as an IoT botnet.
A limited number of security professionals
Security specialists struggle to keep up with the rapid advancement of new technologies, such as AI, cloud, and IoT. As per the (ISC)2 Cybersecurity Workforce Report for 2021, there is a 2.72 million security expert shortage. While many companies are looking to machine learning solutions and cybersecurity automation to assist close the deficit, these solutions will not address all risk areas.
Organizations attempting to expand or embrace their usage of fifth-generation networking have already encountered difficulties due to a lack of human capital. Furthermore, as businesses rush to implement new techniques without appropriate preparation or expert knowledge, they expose themselves to weaknesses that malicious actors can exploit.
Private wireless network vulnerabilities
One among 5G’s benefits that corporations will undoubtedly take advantage of is the capacity to construct private wireless networks through “network slicing.” Companies can segregate client verticals’ network components by integrating virtualized and autonomous logical network segments on a network connection.
The issue is that network slicing increases the entire network’s complexities, resulting in awful deployment. There may be a mapping deficit between the transport layers and application in systems where administrators run many layers, combining shared and dedicated functions. After gaining access to the 5G Service-Based Network, a hacker can access info and conduct DDoS attacks on other layers.
CUPS (Control/User Plane Separation) may also be subject to data session interception when several nodes are put in unprotected network remote sites. DDoS attacks exploiting inadequately protected IoT devices may overload network resources through vast machine-to-machine communication networks.
If vulnerable areas resolve in a mobile computing environment, companies and enterprises will be more vulnerable. Because of insufficient safety measures around wireless networks and remote devices, many security breaches expect to happen at the network edge, where individuals access cloud services.
BYOD rules are becoming increasingly popular, putting company infrastructure in danger. Attackers can now use malware applications installed by business associates or other 3rd party applications to steal confidential data from personal devices.
Most of these weaknesses can mitigate by IT experts that take a proactive attitude toward security and build secure end-to-end networks that safeguard information from the edge to the cloud. This cybersecurity approach will lower risk by making it more difficult for attackers to undetected past organizational systems and reduce expenses associated with possible penalties and lost business due to cyberattacks.
Threat Mitigation for 5G Cybersecurity
5G has more advanced security features, such as:
- It defends against international mobile subscriber identification (IMSI) catchers and base station spoofing, which listen in on calls and monitor users’ activities.
- TLS security for the mobile core and the new service-based design hides the mobile core architecture.
- Establish more complex access and identity management.
- Compatibility for the Extensible Authentication Protocol (EAP) provides for various verification mechanisms, such as public-key and certificates encryption.
- Compulsory user plane integrity protection.
- Assist in improving security for home network verification control when roaming.
With so much on the line, IT experts enthusiastic about 5G must take the following steps to counteract these risks.
A comprehensive strategy for cybersecurity
Cybersecurity can no more be considered an afterthought in the IT department. Businesses must provide their chief information security officer with authority to answer directly to the chief executive officer and the Board of Directors. A comprehensive cybersecurity policy must also consider processes, people, and technology.
All devices on the network, including personal or unmanaged devices put onto the web by workers, must be visible to companies. A vulnerability management program is essential to discover and attempt to fix security flaws quickly. Patch management software is also required to keep devices updated with the most recent security updates.
Companies should implement an intrusion prevention and detection system (IDS/IPS) at the network’s edge to safeguard against potential vulnerabilities. Inappropriate behavior can be detected by an IPS/IDS before it reaches critical data centers or business networks.
Close the expertise gap
While most IT experts realize the necessity of cybersecurity, they may lack the skills to build and administer the 5G security policies required. Companies should consider educating their present staff and employing new personnel with the necessary abilities to address the cybersecurity skills gap.
End-to-end cybersecurity view
Too often, businesses concentrate on safeguarding single systems or apps rather than having a comprehensive picture of the entire network. Instead, a complete cybersecurity plan necessitates an end-to-end perspective of all networked systems and devices. It involves knowing how these devices are connected and what information each device accesses and processes.