5G is the world’s most recent iteration of wireless. It kicked off slowly but has begun to gain momentum. Research and Markets predict that the global 5G enterprise market will be worth 83.45 billion dollars in about two decades.
5G offers lightning-fast speeds, reduced latency compared to 4G, and is projected to revolutionize how the connection is built. In fact, PwC estimates a total global impact is reaching $1.3 trillion by 2030. But despite these enormous 5G potentials, like technology, it poses some cybersecurity risks that enterprises must watch out for before it is circulated.
What is 5G, and How is it Different from 4G?
5G is a vast distance from 4G in times of speed. It is the fifth generation of cellular networks and opens the door to endless unforeseen opportunities for businesses and private individuals. 5G is also very low in latency and has greater bandwidth, transforming and enhancing industries’ operations, advancing societies, and improving day-to-day experiences. Leveraging 5G, the world can design a safer, smarter, and highly sustained future work environment.
Read: Welcoming Web3: Why it’s worth preparing for the next era of the Internet
Some Distinct 5G Features
- Unlike 4 G’s 4,000 devices, 5G can support up to 1 million devices per square kilometer — a massive difference.
- A new generation of satellites that cover 100% aspects of the Earth.
- Data transfer rates up to 10 Gbps.
- Speed ranges from 20-50 milliseconds with the 4G to less than ten milliseconds.
- It is much more energy efficient per traffic unit – up to 90%.
- It offers up to 1000x bandwidth per unit area with shorter frequencies.
But what are the potential cybersecurity risks 5G could pose to businesses and other users?
1. Edge Attacks
One of the leading risks a 5G network poses in cyberspace is a possible breach at the network edge. As a result of the porous nature of security controls around wireless networks and remote devices, employees leverage cloud-based systems to access applications. However, 5G also allows hackers to steal sensitive data.
Also, the widespread bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policies open up more significant risks for enterprise infrastructure. For instance, hackers can break into personal mobile devices to steal sensitive data using malware apps installed by business partners or other third-party apps. You can address this risk using the Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) architecture.
Why SASE? SASE helps secure end-to-end cloud-native resources and build secure access to networks, eliminating potential data threats and making it difficult for hackers to gain access without being detected. This reduces or removes the cost that may come with fines and lost businesses due to cyberattacks.
Read: Cybersecurity Risk: What It Is and How Can It Be Reduced
2. 5G Create Vulnerabilities in Private Wireless Networks
One key 5G benefit to enterprises is the ability to create private wireless networks through “network slicing.” However, “network slicing” creates complexity in the overall network and may result in poorly implemented. For instance, a mapping deficiency could arise between transport layers and applications in networks where administrators operate dedicated and shared functions and other network slices. And once a potential attacker can access the 5G service-based architecture, they’ll easily penetrate data and launch DDoS attacks on other slices.
Also, when diverse nodes are positioned in an unsecured network edge area, The Control/User Plane Separation (CUPS) may become vulnerable to data session interception. With DDoS attacks on poorly secured IoT devices, the network may become overburdened through massive machine-type communication systems.
3. Speed Risks
5G comes with a much-desired speed — it is very fast! But that also means data theft can be implemented in far less time, unlike before. In fact, with the high-volume network and speed, a security breach will happen, and you are less likely to notice. Hence, a compromise can be successful on your network with no measure of fixing the breach since you didn’t even realize it in the first place.
Read: What You Need to Know About DDoS Attacks
4. 5G Can Further Increase the Risks of IoT Devices
Since most IoT devices are not secure, they will only be increasingly vulnerable with 5G. 5G makes it possible to link thousands of internet-enabled devices simultaneously. Inadequately secured IoT devices will open up many weak access areas for attackers to work and home networks. Hence, hackers will easily find poorly secured IoT devices which 5G will make far more accessible and faster to achieve.
For instance, hackers can leverage weak points to disrupt supply chains and spread malware or leverage a swarm of routers as an IoT botnet to effect a DDoS attack.
5. A Limited Available IT Experts
Security experts are limited in keeping pace with the fast growth of technology, including IoT, cloud, and AI. And even when many businesses move towards security automation and machine learning solutions to make up the vacuum, that will not cover every risk aspect. Hence, this lack of human resources will open the door for more significant problems for businesses looking to expand and adopt how fifth-generation networks are utilized.
Also, companies not considering the cost of making the dive into 5G technologies will be offering broader access to hackers into their networks.
Read: 4 Tips To Ensure Successful IoT Software Development
How Should You Prepare for 5G?
To prepare for 5G, a few essential things to consider to uphold the security of your data and resources. Here are a few things to put into consideration:
- Practice Strong Password Security. Use long-string passwords that are not easy to guess, and ensure to change them from time to time.
- Consider Virtual Private Networks (VPN). Control movements and tracking around your network by deploying possible VPN services.
- Update IoT Devices Regularly Updated with Security Patches. Make updates on your mobile devices, computers, and every smart home device you use to access the internet. Ensure that all these devices have the latest security systems.
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