The reality and risks of 5G deployment

As a technology standard for cellular broadband networks, it’s reasonable to think of 5G as a hardware-based entity. However, much of the 5G architecture and networking mechanisms rely on software components. In fact, the focal point of 5G is the coming together of precisely engineered pieces of software code.

The formation of 5G in itself is a complex procedure, as is its wider deployment to the growing global population of smart Internet of Things (IoT) devices and the global consumer connected mobile device user base. .

The need for backward and forward compatibility in 5G development

A major consideration at this point is the need to develop 5G in a way that is both backward and forward compatible. This is the opinion of Adam Weinberg, CTO and co-founder of FirstPoint Mobile Guard, a specialist in cyber-cellular protection based in Israel.

Weinberg says this backward and forward compatibility mandate must be combined with an effort by progressive DevOps teams who insist on following industry protocols. This will streamline operations and ensure obvious vulnerabilities are addressed early on.

“Where developers need to be diligent is making sure they understand how devices will communicate with networks to minimize the risk of creating a larger attack surface,” Weinberg said. “The complexity of 5G means that enterprises must have comprehensive tools to manage, control and secure their 5G-connected assets to ensure reliable, secure and stable connectivity.”

What we can take away from this “need for the toolset” message is a call to action for the developers themselves. Code gurus from all disciplines approaching 5G will need to work hand-in-hand with cybersecurity teams to ensure all code is manageable and achieves a robust security clearance before it resides on devices. Enterprise IoT at the network level.

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Consideration of 5G vulnerabilities and risks

Obviously, there are many different types of attacks that could manifest within a 5G infrastructure, all of which could have a disruptive effect on critical supply chains or, in the case of vital systems, put lives at risk. hazard.

Device handling is a concern in the development of 5G, according to FirstPoint Mobile’s Custodial Team. As developer-architects now code the 5G technologies on which our new networks will be based, there is potentially a new stream of opportunities to exploit network flaws and access control features. As this is what botnets are looking for initially, this is a risk that needs to be considered for the future of 5G.

“Thinking about how the development of 5G systems will need to be aware of data channel rerouting attacks is another careful (if not essential) act we need to consider here,” Weinberg said. “Attackers can discover and tamper with sensitive information by altering the path of data on its way to or from the attacked device in the 5G cellular network.”

In short, developers should work closely with network engineers who will be managing IoT devices to ensure that the network itself has additional security protection.

Read also : The IoT faces new cybersecurity threats

Location frustrations with 5G networks

Using the mobile network, attackers can use a powerful tracking capability to remotely track any mobile device anywhere in the world. As a software network, 5G doesn’t always know who it’s communicating with. Therefore, according to Weinberg, developers need to ensure that their eSIM and SIM devices have the space to add applets to the card.

Additionally, these powerful tracking capabilities leave devices vulnerable to information theft. Cell phones with GPS, camera, microphone, and/or screen capture capabilities allow real-time intelligence gathering when active. This allows attackers to access private or work data on the device via apps, stolen credentials, etc. via malware and social engineering.

When building specialized devices for the 5G era, Weinberg and his team say that with the possibility of information theft in mind, the software code itself must operate at the user interface level to allow for easy on-off capabilities and to provide better control.

“These types of attacks play on the inherent vulnerabilities of the 5G network. Having a comprehensive solution that can recognize anomalies such as this is critical,” Weinberg said.

Read also : 5G and new threats to business security

The future of 5G technologies in key industries

While industry vendor claims for 5G are optimistic, no one knows exactly how real-world application use cases will evolve.

In some cases, futurists and telecom commentators have suggested that a 5G network, at least in these early stages, will only perform about as well as a good 4G network. And many are talking about the application of 5G as a key enabler of autonomous driving and other connectivity considerations related to the automotive industry.

The rationale for this suggestion is that, in practice, networks have so far been very successful in enabling users to send emails, post photos on social media platforms, and even stream videos. and online cloud games. But for the ubiquity of autonomous driving, there has to be an order-of-magnitude upgrade at the network level, which 5G is supposed to represent.

Other than automotive, other key industries that stand to benefit are retail, manufacturing, and logistics, all of which are verticals where machinery, commodities, production lines, and market fluctuations are rapidly changing. . If an environment is ripe for the application of biometrics, wearable telemetry and augmented reality, then it will logically be a good low latency deployment target for 5G technologies.

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