5G: The Cybersecurity Challenges that come with the New Standard

Along with speed improvements and reduced latency, some risks also increase. To prevent them, it is necessary to have protocols and security solutions that allow attacks to stop before critical damages.

The 5G or fifth-generation standard promises a speed increase of between 10 and 100 times compared to 4G and 4G+. The download speed of 5G will be between 10 and 20 Gbps, while currently, 4G can reach 100 Mbps. It will also reduce latency.

This technology is already present for users in South Korea, some cities in the United States, certain regions of Europe, and within Latin America, in Uruguay. In many other countries such as Argentina, proofs of concept were carried out, but the service is not available for general users. The scope is still limited and global deployment will take a few more years.

In the framework of the advancement of this type of connectivity, which will promote the progress of connected vehicles, augmented reality, and internet of things (IoT), it must also be borne in mind that new challenges arise within the framework of cybersecurity.

Just as the increase in speed means better performance, it is also a situation in which cybercriminals can take advantage of attacks on the network. Mike Geller, the Principal Architect at Cisco, gave a talk detailing some of these risks and the solutions that can be implemented to prevent these risks.

In this context, the increase in Denial-of-service attacks was mentioned, which implies a great risk considering the growth of the Internet of Things (IoT) that will come from the hand of 5G. The denial of service produce saturation of the connection; the servers are overloaded and can not continue to provide the service.

A large number of faulty or misconfigured devices meant that they could be used to organize these attacks. With the Internet of Things and 5G, these risks increase because more devices can be used as infrastructure to carry out these attacks.

Protection should be in several layers, as mentioned in the framework of the talk about 5G and cybersecurity

The domain name system (DNS) at the perimeter is a vulnerable point. A large number of network attacks make intrusions from the DNS. A security solution at this level allows DNS requests to be analyzed so that, if a suspicious pattern is identified, an automatic block is generated.

With the advent of this standard and the growth of systems to be powered by 5G, the attack surface is also expanded. This will also require equipment manufacturers to secure their firmware more effectively.

In the framework of what is known as edge computing or perimeter computing, creating entry points in networks allows attackers to be filtered before they enter the system. The idea is to take a multi-layer approach.

Powered by artificial intelligence, automatic threat detection enables you to respond more effectively. This way, you can avoid incidents (or at least reduce or mitigate them) and protect your data.

With the arrival of 5G, the cybersecurity landscape becomes more complex, and it is necessary to strengthen security protocols.

Geller analyzed the security approach and, in this sense, spoke of having greater visibility of the network to be able to identify threats; He then explained the need of a segment to reduce the attack surface and then pointed out about understanding the security breach in order to remedy it.

Infiltrations in the network, application manipulation, denial of service, and interference. There are several risks that are taken, and to anticipate it is necessary to adopt a prevention approach that combines the use of security solutions, which are nourished by machine learning and big data, in addition to using a multi-factor identification system and having a clear protocol for incident response.

Another interesting point is the encrypted information. This serves to protect confidential information, but there is also a B side, according to Juan Marino, a cybersecurity specialist at Cisco: “Since a lot of traffic is encrypted, it is generally trusted and not inspected, but the Malicious users are also masked within encrypted traffic, which serves as a safe-haven for cover. So at Cisco, we have a machine learning-based ability to detect malicious activity within encrypted traffic without opening that traffic.”

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Written by Charlie Ashe

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