Impact of 5G network on IoT Security

Impact of 5G network on IoT Security

The rollout of fifth-generation mobile networks, which offers the potential for download speeds of up to 10 times faster than today’s changing communication and work analogy video. Because of the cyber vulnerabilities of software, the tougher part of the real 5G “race” is to retool how we secure the most important network of the 21st century and ecosystem of devices. Experts express their concern over this by highlighting the faster speeds that are likely to present an opportunity for hackers to target more devices and launch bigger cyber-attacks. Ericson has released a guide to 5G network security for a better understanding of how 5G works.

5G and IoT Security

Stronger encryption of data and better verification of network users of 5G are widely considered to be a significant improvement on 4G. 5G will be a physical overhaul of our essential networks that will have a decades-long impact.

Experts say that the weak link in 5G’s security is likely to be a communication between devices connected to the internet. These Devices, termed as the Internet of things (IoT) include everything from cars and factory assembly lines to traffic lights with embedded internet-connected sensors. The Lower latency, increased bandwidth, and ability to dedicate network slices to specific use cases that are inherent in 5G design specifications will enable a range of new mobile and remote applications not been feasible with 4G technology.

According to Gartner, a research company

“the number of internet-connected items will grow from 14.2billion to 25 billion by 2021, which indirectly shows how many devices are vulnerable to cyber attacks”

How Vulnerable is IoT over 5G?

The problem is unlikely to be the security of 5G technology itself. Researchers have uncovered multiple vulnerabilities in 5G security as the ability for attackers to use fake mobile base stations to steal information. Experts say that security can be patchy for some IoT devices, especially low-cost low-powered items. Hackers can use technology to scan hundreds of thousands of devices for weak security, such as those with default passwords like “admin”, “guest” or “password”. The likelihood of finding an IoT device that hasn’t been set up properly, or with a weak password is quite high. Prior cyber attack on IoT has been proved to be a great loss by “Mirai botnet” in 2016, where thousands of cameras, routers, and digital video recorders were used to bring down websites including Twitter and the New York Times.

When attackers break into a device connected to 5G, the network’s speed will mean that they can extract and download information, including personal data and customer information, much faster than before.

The downside of 5G on IoT

As IoT devices connect to 5G networks, they could prove a tempting target for hackers and criminals. “The sheer number of connected assets and devices heightens security challenges. There is also a risk that homes using 5G could become more vulnerable” says, Dan Bieler, principal analyst at Forrester, a research company. Few areas have been identified by experts to be carefully worked on when considering IoT on 5G.

  • Since IoT devices are connected directly to the mobile internet, hackers will not have to avoid the more stringent security of home or corporate networks.
  • In case security of home appliance’s softwares like Refrigerator, Television, Toaster and Microwaves are not updated while using 5G, such homes will be more vulnerable to cyber attacks.
  • Organizations may face real security challenges if employees are not careful using 5G network to send their confidential data.
  • Mobile devices are more vulnerable to cyber attacks that could include artificial intelligence like “robo callers”, which can convincingly mimic family and friends; large scale Denial of Service attack taking down a mobile network or Manipulative videos known as “deepflakes”
  • On 5G if you are using your mobile device for banking transactions, the data can be easily interpreted by the attacker.

Action items being worked on:

Internet of Things (IoT) is a core business driver for the upcoming fifth-generation (5G) mobile networks, which will enable numerous innovative IoT applications such as smart city, mobile health, and other massive IoT use cases being defined in 5G standards. To truly unlock the hidden value of such mission-critical IoT applications in a large scale in the 5G era, advanced self-protection capabilities are entailed in 5G-based Narrowband IoT (NB-IoT) networks to efficiently fight off cyber-attacks such as widespread Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks. However, insufficient research has been conducted in this crucial area, in particular, few if any solutions are capable of dealing with the multiple encapsulated 5G traffic for IoT security management.

Governments, telecom companies, and technology groups are working on security standards for 5G and the Internet of Things. AT&T has created a cybersecurity unit specializing in the Internet of Things which will evaluate the security of IoT devices and security practices used by manufacturers and industry. “The objective is to prevent common mistakes and improve opportunities to correct issues before they become larger problems. The telecom company expects a massive increase in the volume of data going across an operator’s 5G network” says Mr. Bill O’Hem, chief security officer at AT&T.


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