5G is now a modern reality rather than a futuristic concept. Earlier this year at Mobile World Congress, most of the network operators publicized the new era of intelligent connectivity. No doubt, 5G is going to play a vital role in shaping our future. In fact, according to a new research, in just five years’ time, 5G user base is expected to exceed 1.1 billion.
However, amidst this exhilaration, the IT community has been hypothesizing over the implication of 5G’s launch, pondering over the question that what exactly 5G means for the cybersecurity outlook. History has already taught us that rapid technological advancement and adoption is a dual-edged sword – it can build and abolish swiftly. According to a Gartner report, 66% of organizations plan to deploy 5G in less than a year. This shows that two-thirds of organizations are formulating for a fresh wave of cyber threats that are set to be released. The research also shows that organizations expect 5G networks will be mainly used for Internet of Things (IoT) communications and videos. In today’s world, the matter of cybersecurity and the handling of sensitive information has transformed the market landscape.
Over the next few years, global 5G will be incremented, so it is not too early to start pondering over one of the major concern that arises in 5G-enabled and 5G-ready networks: cybersecurity. When 4G and LTE technologies were introduced, security concerns were more serene. It doesn't mean security was any less significant as it has always been a grave element of a network. However, older technologies had fewer necessities for preparation and adoption.
5G and IoT
Mainstream opinion is that 2G, 3G, and 4G were designed for people, but 5G is specifically designed for things, and mostly it is associated with the Internet of Things. IoT has gained access to every aspect of society and business. 5G is expected to be both stronger and faster implying that it can accommodate many devices and hardware. This accommodation will result in bandwidth increase along with a new threat landscape. More devices, more connections, and more data flow will ultimately intensify the cybersecurity risks.
For organizations, the amazing connecting power of 5G implies a large number of endpoints, resulting in more possible openings for an attacker to infiltrate the network. If these openings are compromised for once, the cybercriminals can exploit them at a new scale and speed. Poor regulation in 5G technology has discovered a flaw in 5G’s security protocols. This flaw can allow attackers to intercept communications and breach sensitive data. 5G technology can also enable IoT devices to be weaponized in botnet attacks. As 5G lets multiple devices to connect, it can possibly allow them to participate in a malicious botnet. Through such bouts, hackers can also launch more powerful Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks. These issues are already under consideration as the recent research from the Neustar International Security Council reveals that 75% of the security experts are concerned about the implications of bot traffic on their organizations. The research added that DDoS attacks are once again categorized as the greatest overall cybersecurity threat.
What’s the Future Security Plan?
With the arrival of 5G along with the rising growth of IoT definite to influence the cybersecurity landscape, it is more significant than ever that companies reassess their security plans and strategies. The organizations need to evaluate their asset management system to keep track of where they have a presence, as data breaches can occur in security gaps. In addition, security tools including identity authentication systems, event and incident management tools, and data governance policies will need to be upgraded for the novel external edges of the network.
Secure the sensitive data
Customer data: To ensure the integrity of the information, the data flowing into and out of devices needs to be protected. In the case of IoT endpoints, data could be rapidly and constantly moving from one point to another; therefore, it needs to be kept safe from attackers.
Transaction data: Commerce transactions will also need to be secure with the onset of 5G technology.
Network data: The top list of concerns is to prevent the breaches to network. Most of the services reside over the network, so it highly needs to be kept safe. Even the employees can exploit the company's networks for data breaches; therefore, they also need to be supervised using an employee monitoring app like Xnspy. Their activities can be monitored, and any abnormal behavior can be identified and checked before it is too late.
The organization that has been doing everything right to ensure cybersecurity is still under threat. By connecting more and more devices, 5G technology will widen “the enterprise perimeter.” As the compromised devices will have access to greater bandwidth, the risks of DDoS attacks and malware infections will only escalate. This is why organizations need to develop a risk-based security strategy that prioritizes high-risk areas to minimize destruction. According to Cisco, there are five key attributes that can ensure a secure 5G network:
- Threats must be prevented and alleviated. Firewalls, administrative controls, and intruder detection systems are some of the preventive measures.
- Advanced malware or spyware must be identified and eradicated as soon as possible. Advanced heuristic detection tools can be used to ensure cybersecurity.
- Networks must be monitored thoroughly for anomaly detection. To secure 5G networks, packet capture, data analytics, filters, and machine learning are few basic security elements.
- DNS intelligence with DNS activity tracking is the most significant and it needs to be more reliable than ever before.
- Threat intelligence protocols are the basic needs of security. Security professionals need to study new hackers and understand what they are looking for.
As with any innovation, 5G technology is expected to spur new use cases in different industries that will need advanced levels of security, too. While the technology is going to propose an array of new possibilities to consumers and holds the potential to transform industries, it is critical to keep cybersecurity in front of mind in every phase of the deployment process. Of course, the modern security components including threat prevention, advanced malware, anomaly detection, DNS intelligence, and threat intelligence are just the start. The entire industry has to be cautious and innovative to keep future networks secure.