Wireless networks have come a long way, from first generation (1G) networks that spawned the first cell phones (think early 80s “bricks”) to 4G/4G LTE networks with faster speeds that keep pace with mobile data demand.
Now, the fifth generation (5G) is set to upend today’s wireless communications. 5G will connect tens of billions of new devices and sensors and, with future communications technologies, introduce new connections, capabilities, and services to transform the way we communicate.
Security considerations for 5G
But with great transformation comes great risk. “Many are warning that 5G also holds the power to enrich and empower high-speed malicious hackers, supercharging their ability to wreak untold havoc in the global cybercrime epidemic,” said Tripwire last year.
In fact, an AT&T survey indicated that 73% of security practitioners rated their level of concern as high or medium-high when it comes to the potential impact of 5G on security. And their biggest concerns around 5G are the larger attack surface and larger number of devices, followed by the need to authenticate and extend security policies out to those devices.
In addition, 76% expect wholly new security threats to emerge out of a 5G world. Yet just 16% have started preparing before 5G deployments hit the mainstream.
The CISA goes on to say that 5G will introduce vulnerabilities in:
- Supply Chain: The 5G supply chain is susceptible to the malicious or unintentional introduction of risks like malicious software and hardware, counterfeit components, and poor designs, manufacturing processes, and maintenance procedures.
- Deployment: Because 5G will use more information and communication technology (ICT) components than previous generations, improperly deployed, configured, or managed equipment and networks may be vulnerable to disruption and manipulation.
- Network Security: Also, 5G builds upon previous generations, dragging legacy vulnerabilities, such as DDoS attacks, along with it. Even with additional security enhancements, 5G equipment and networks may still be affected.
How can you help translate potential 5G network security issues and vulnerabilities into solutions that keep your customers safe?
Below are 6 ways you can help customers prepare for the security impacts of 5G. Make sure customers are prepared by helping them:
- Build a security-first mindset. Organizations with a mature, security-first mindset are most ready to adopt emerging technologies like 5G. If your customer does not have a security-first culture, help them build one with solutions and services that cover all the bases, including incident response experiences that test their ability to respond to a threat.
- Deploy standards-based devices. Help customers choose IoT devices with embedded security features that meet established standards, such as NIST, and offer protection, detection, and mitigation.
- Adopt virtualization and automation. irtualized security controls can help customers more quickly apply security policies across their environment, while automated remediation helps mitigate threats.
- Infuse threat intelligence with Artificial Intelligence (AI)/Machine Learning (ML). 5G will introduce new types of vulnerabilities in and attacks on the network. Help your customers combine threat intelligence with AI/ML to immediately identify, detect, and respond at the point of attack.
- Implement zero-trust. Firewalls alone are no longer enough. Help customers adopt a zero-trust approach to security. Trust nothing, verify everything—especially devices.
- Become their trusted MSSP. With 5G, comes rapid innovation, change, and complexity which, in turn, drives rapid innovation, change, and complexity in security threats—which is where MSSPs shine brightest with innovative solutions and expert advice.
Companies like Tech Data are at the forefront of cybersecurity with strategic technology partnerships, experienced security experts, and best-in-class resources, such as the Tech Data ISAO Threat Feed and the Tech Data Cyber Range. We can help recommend the right security solutions for your customers and provide guidance on how best to keep their networks healthy and protected.
5G promises breathtaking business benefits for your customers—with the right cybersecurity approach. To get up to speed on 5G and better advise your customers, visit us at www.techdata.com/security. You can also download our infographic detailing the six ways to help your customers prepare for the impact of 5G technology.
About the Author
Alex Guzman has more than 13 years of experience in content development and strategic marketing. Prior to joining Tech Data, she worked in marketing for a variety of organizations, including global manufacturing and software development.