How Will 5G Technology Alter IoT Security And How Can We Prepare?

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The 5G technology appears to be perfect from a distance, with its grand claims of fostering efficient interconnectivity and speedy data transfers between people, objects, and devices. From this claim alone, everything seems too good to be true. Despite the massive inclination that we might have to believe these claims, we must scrutinize the legitimacy of the claims being made by 5G providers and get to the reality of the situation to maintain a robust cybersecurity landscape for the long run.

As an increasing number of companies plan to implement 5G mobile networks on a large scale, organizations need to consider the security risks that the technology can pose.

Multiple cybersecurity experts suggest that some of the vulnerabilities found within the 5G technology directly result from ignored problems passing down from 4G, and in some cases, even 3G networks. Moreover, predictions made by Gartner indicate that a staggering 59% of organizations plan to support their IoT networks through 5G- which opens up new avenues for cybercriminals to exploit.

This article explores the possible ramifications that 5G could have for IoT security, along with some steps that enterprises can take to prepare for it. But before that, first, discuss the current situation of the 5G landscape and the monumental influence on businesses.

The Present-Day 5G Landscape

The eagerness displayed by businesses to jump on the 5G bandwagon comes off as no surprise to anyone since the additional 500 to 1500 Mbps of speed can significantly boost efficiency and download and upload speeds within the enterprise. Whirlpool has started deploying the 5G technology; other reputable organizations like Samsung, Nokia, and Cisco jump in on the trend. These manufacturers have either begun to develop enterprise-wide 5G solutions or have made plans to do so in public.

The most important factor businesses need to account for within their 5G implementation is time. As multiple specialists have stated, organizations need to take considerable time and financial investments to upgrade their existing infrastructure to cater to the technology. Being impatient with the implementation of 5G technology proves to be disastrous since organizations will be more likely to forego security concerns and put their business at risk.

Furthermore, as the Internet of Things continues to expand at a lightning-fast pace, there are multiple entry points available for hackers to exploit, who are busy scanning for open ports in the devices’ software, to deploy vulnerabilities such as malicious scripts and bots into the network. The advent of 5G brings to the surface an issue that has been around for a long time: the fragile state that IoT security is the inin-a problem that 5G has a big chance of magnifying.

Why Does the Implementation of 5G Networks Pose Security Risks?

76% of risk professionals believe that IoT puts them at risk of cyberattacks, understanding why 5G amps up organizations’ vulnerability are crucial to exercise the correct security measures.

As 5G mobile networks become widespread, the sooner we come to terms with the changes that the implementation of such a technology could have, the smoother the transition to a 5G-based organization will be. It’s crucial to begin to take preparatory measures against the risks that 5G brings if you understand why they occur in the first place. The main reasons behind 5G’s susceptibility to cyberattacks can be summed up in the following points:

  • As soon as businesses decide to implement 5G technology, their organization has to transition from a centralized, hardware-based network to a software-enabled and distributed network. With previous technologies such as 4G and 3G, the availability of ‘hardware choke points’ made it possible for security teams to insert security fixes, which is not the case with 5G.
  • Unlike most people’s 4G and 3G networks, the 5G technology sees high-priority tasks previously performed by physical appliances be virtualized in software. Although this does increase both efficiency and speed, it also increases cyber vulnerability and provides a larger attack surface area to cybercriminals.
  • Even in an ideal scenario, in which all the software vulnerabilities present within an organization’s network are isolated and eliminated, the 5G network is still highly vulnerable to data breaches. Since the 5G network is now managed through software, if a malicious entity gains control over the software managing the network, they could hijack the entire mobile network and wreak as much damage as they please.
  • The widespread implementation of 5G will see a massive spike within the consumed bandwidth, opening a greater surface area for cybercriminals to exploit. Combined with the multiple entry points available through IoT devices, this could result in many breaches and attacks launched on naive users.

How Can 5G Networks Be Secured?

When considering the dire impact that 5G has on IoT security, the matter of 5G security becomes quite urgent and requires the immediate attention of security specialists all over. When we shift our perspectives and take a look at the situation from the 5G network perspective, it becomes pretty apparent that for IoT security to foster, start creating trustworthy IoT devices. Moreover, it is also essential to define trustworthiness by judging the device’s hardware, software, and configuration.

Consequently, it is also vital for businesses to enhance the security of their 5G networks through the frequent deployment of security patches, which are to be released in the form of software updates. Furthermore, it is also critical that they ensure that IoT devices are being governed based on the identities they host, the security measures they exercise, and their compliance. Organizations should encourage using data center proxies that ensure complete anonymity and IP authentication. Using these proxies means no snooping eyes can invade your network and target you for possible attacks. Also, it’d be helpful if companies focus on devising a comprehensive set of regulations that governs their employees’ interactions with 5G and prevents them from committing security blunders.

Parting Words

With the advent of 5G mobile networks, the world has become more close-knit and connected, with a million possibilities now at the tips of our fingertips. While the promise that 5G makes is genuinely spectacular, it is critical to stay grounded and exercise caution with the technology’s implementation so that everyone may be able to make the most out of all that it has to offer!

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