5G is the fundamental enabler of healthcare, manufacturing, smart cities, and many other applications that makes it is a strategically vital part of every industry. However, everything is not a bed of roses.
FREMONT, CA: It is noticeable that 5G is steadily becoming a necessary part of everybody's lives. This makes its security even more important.
The Security Issue
The standards of 5G are set in the 3rd Generation Partnership Project, or 3GPP in which security has been addressed with the other professional bodies’ involvement, such as the Internet Engineering Task Force.
The four focused areas of 5G security challenges are:
1. Threat Surface
In order to increase efficiency, more devices will get connected to the 5G network. Specifically, many 5G connected machines or IoT devices will measure and control for making things run more effectively and efficiently.
However, 5G also has its dark side, i.e., increased threat surface. This means that the possibility of getting more things attacked increases and thus requires shielding. It is very vital to carefully secure these IoT devices that earlier had lower security standards and capabilities.
Along with devices, many small cells on street furniture and in buildings mean that things like physical security will also need attention. Earlier, it didn’t matter when cell sites were huge safe sites. However, it is going to matter in the future.
2. High Impact Applications
One of the biggest concerns regarding 5G security is the consequences of future security breaches. Security breaches can cause fraud or data theft.
In the future, the failure or compromising of a network because of a security breach can be fundamentally different if 5G fulfills its expectations. Situations include freezing or crashing autonomous vehicles, exposing personal health data, stopping production in a factory for a few weeks, stopping a remotely directed medical operation halfway through, and many more.
Alarmism is one of the elements in detecting these kinds of risks. Still, the fact remains the same that security is of the utmost importance when it comes to 5G, as it is used for controlling extremely vital functions across the economy.
3. Virtual Networks and Network Slicing
What do you mean by slicing? 5G will make extended usage of software for performing most functions required for working. Earlier, it was performed in on dedicated hardware. With 5G, things can be changed, personalized, and reconfigured immediately since everything is in software.
It enables mobile network operators to create virtual networks that operate completely in software and are personalized to clients’ particular requirements. Individuals making use of a slice will be able to integrate their own software, system, and network elements with it too.
The potential is significant for new uses and applications; however, it presents a lot of security threats because of the novelty of the new methods of utilizing this new capability, and the pace at which transformations are made.
4. Heterogeneous Networks
5G enables distinct networks being operated by different entities to work collaboratively seamlessly.
Besides, it might include non-terrestrial ones utilizing HAPS or satellite systems. Here, the security risks are related to the whole is only as strong as the weak link. In this case, it is hard to say that consistent security levels are being maintained.
To conclude, it is necessary to take responsibility for security and take precautions as much as possible.