How 5G Will Impact Your Cybersecurity Strategy

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All around the world, advanced 5G networks are being deployed, bringing along a large number of benefits, including high data capacity, increased reliability, and lower latency. An EU report says that the new network technology is expected to boost user data rates by up to 100 times and drive traffic up to 1000 times higher per square kilometer.

5G technology also provides a boost to other essential emerging architectures, including edge computing and the Internet of Things (IoT). IoT-connected devices gather and generate massive data volumes, and 5G has been designed especially for these large data loads. Edge computing moves processing power closer to the end-user and the devices that require it.

While many of the edge computing security issues have been with us for decades, the capabilities that it brings adds further complications to these issues and may make them more difficult to address unless you adapt your cybersecurity strategy.

1. New Vulnerabilities Unique to 5G Will Arise

In 2016, most of the U.S. East Coast had its Internet taken out by a large-scale denial-of-service (DDoS) attack. The infamous Mirai botnet was to blame. It attacked over 600,000 insecure mission-critical devices on the IoT that included security cameras, according to OVH, one of the world’s largest cloud providers. OVH also claims that the attacks exceeded 1Tbps, which makes them the largest attacks on record.

What makes this attack more alarming is that it later emerged that the creator of the botnet had created it to simply affect rival Minecraft servers as a way to make extra cash. The developer had never intended the bug to infect the Internet as a whole, showing that not all potential cybersecurity threats originate from criminal masterminds. As 5G networks become available to the greater public, such threats will become more of a concern, since more devices will be connected to each other in different ways using the new technology.

Everything from industrial smart sensors to smart refrigerators to security cameras will be designed to tap into these high-performance data networks. This will present hackers with a host of new systems, devices, and tools that they can attack.

2. 5G Devices Will Require the Implementation of Smarter Solutions

With the introduction of more, smarter devices, the security landscape is becoming even broader. While your corporate cybersecurity may currently be concerned with protecting a few internal computers, you will be forced to consider new possibilities as more than 1.5 billion 5G-enabled mobile devices are expected to be in use by 2024.

And these threats might be in unexpected places. For instance, does your company office have smart coffee makers installed? If so, you will have to put up new security solutions to cover any incoming or outgoing connections to that device. Have you installed new remote-operation tools or smart sensors for your industrial equipment? They will also have to be factored into your cybersecurity strategy.

Your cybersecurity solutions will need to be as broad as the capabilities of your devices to account for their advanced networking capabilities. Not only will this require new security considerations—for instance, outsourcing your security to a provider with better capabilities—but it will also have major implications for your organization’s overall privacy and security.

Consider your smart coffee maker: You might not think that it is sharing or transmitting your sensitive corporate data, but a hacker can reverse-engineer it for nefarious purposes. For instance, they could connect to a microphone that you use for voice commands and reconfigure it to spy on your internal communications.

3. Increased Bandwidth Will Stretch the Capabilities of Existing Cybersecurity Solutions

There are many security solutions today that involve the real-time monitoring of traffic to identify threats through sniffed data and user activity. For example, if an employee visits a flagged URL, it could potentially indicate the existence of corporate espionage. Real-time monitoring also makes it possible to discover an infected machine before it inflicts any damage.

In any case, current security systems can keep pace with potential threats because of the limitations of the available bandwidth. While bandwidth limitation makes for bad user performance, it is a bonus when it comes to managing data traffic and online security. However, with the higher speeds and increased capacity that 5G provides, that advantage flies out the window.

Although current 4G networks are pretty fast, they top out at about 12.5 MB/s. However, 5G is expected to deliver up to 2.5 GB/s, a quantum leap in data speed. Your 5G cybersecurity strategy needs to be upgraded to handle these new capabilities, especially with regard to monitoring, prevention, and data encryption. Many of your legacy security solutions may be rendered obsolete due to the increased speed and capacity as well as the overall boost in latency that 5G offers.

What makes this scenario truly frightening is the fact that, since there are few fully-fledged 5G networks available today to carry out tests, it is unclear exactly what types of upgrades will be needed to ensure security. To match the networks’ higher capabilities, hardware, such as firewalls, will have to be upgraded, and security solutions redeveloped.

Is Your Business Prepared To Counter The Dangers Of 5G?

5G can no longer be considered as a future technology, but rather a current reality. The technology comes with huge potential for promotion of the Internet of Things while fostering an environment of interconnectivity and sustained economic growth. However, the excitement over the deployment of 5G networks comes with a caveat that new security threats are bound to arise.

With entire markets starting the switch to this technology, it marks a new era in the field of cybersecurity. For this reason, you need to ensure that your business is ready to face the dangers that come with 5G.

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