5G network brings security challenges to CTOs and consumers

Investment in 5G network by telecom operators will enable massive Internet of Things (IoT) applications such as the traffic sensors and Vehicle-to-Infrastructure (V2I) services — posing security challenges.
5G security
5G roll outs have started in parts of the Middle East, Asia, the US and Europe. Cyber attacker will be able to access valuable data from IoT devices and 5G networks or disrupt the services with Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks, a 5G Americas report recently said.

David Kennedy, practice leader, Asia-Pacific, in an Ovum report, said 5G enhances 4G security architecture. But there are challenges ahead for 5G service providers.

Ibrahim Gedeon, chief technology officer at TELUS, at the recent NGMN Conference & Exhibition in Vancouver, said: “There is a need to add security into the 5G networks by design.” TELUS is the leading telecom operator in Canada.

Global 5G security market will reach $7.53 billion and IoT services will drive more than 30 percent of the 5G security market.

The report noted that data security and user privacy are the prime security concerns for 5G.

North America will lead the 5G security market followed by Asia Pacific. Infrastructure, apps, and data will be of equal importance for 5G security.

There will be 220 million 5G broadband connections by 2025 because 5G broadband will be amongst the first services to launch over 5G. The peak data rate of 5G networks is 10 Gbps, compared to 4G’s 1 Gbps.
5G connection forecast by GSMAJuniper Research author Sam Barker said: “Mobile operators faced significant challenges both to deploy and most effectively configure 5G networks. There’s a need to deploy dense small cell networks, operators would need far greater access to sites to upgrade and share equipment.”

Telecoms are making investment in virtualised networks to enable both more efficient traffic management and improve security in the network perimeter. CTOs at telecom operators think that the pace of 5G investment will not be able to tackle security challenges.

T-Mobile, the third largest telecom operator in US, has completed its virtualized packet core buildout across its footprint using Cisco’s distributed software defined network (SDN) architecture – supporting more than 70 million customers.

T-Mobile and Cisco have signed a 5-year deal to build T-Mobile’s 5G Packet Core and Policy Suite, spanning hardware, software and services.

Jonathan Davidson, senior vice president, Service Provider Business, Cisco, said: “With this new virtualized architecture with massive scale, T-Mobile can launch new services with automated deployments, spending minutes to deploy what used to take months.”

A Radware blog said 5G networks will be enhanced by the deployment of new cost-effective IT technologies such as virtualization and Software Defined Network (SDN)/Network Functions Virtualization (NFV). 5G services can be equipped with security mechanisms only if the network infrastructure is robust enough to support the security features.

“The security of function network elements, in legacy networks depends on how well their physical entities could be separated from each other. In 5G networks that are mainly based on cloud-based infrastructure, this isolation will function in a different way, thereby encouraging the industry to put more focus on 5G infrastructure security,” Radware said.

A recent Cisco report said 5G will support specialized use cases like e-health and connected cars and security could be an important aspect for mobile service providers.

A Palo Alto Networks report recently said legacy approaches that depend on disconnected and uncorrelated security elements will not scale and will not see and stop attacks across 5G networks. Encrypting traffic won’t catch advanced threats that hide within applications or stop multi-stage attacks.

MNOs need to create higher value networks centered around security so that enterprises can confidently deploy new applications and maximize their business value with 5G, said Lee Klarich, chief product officer at Palo Alto Networks.

“With virtualization and more dynamic configurations entering the picture for 5G, it seems logical to consider a more dynamic and flexible security architecture for it,” an Ericsson report said. New security designs with higher flexibility could address unnecessary conflicts between usability and security.

A Huawei report said the 5G network provides customized network services including slice customization or selection for users by sensing their service features. However, privacy information, such as user health information and location, may be utilized in the service type sensing process. To protect user privacy, a service sensing rule must be defined for the 5G network to address users’ concerns about privacy.

Cyber security firm Trend Micro has joined hands with NTT DOCOMO to develop a new solution for the demands of the 5G era. Trend Micro said its VNFS network security solution that implements network security functions on virtualized environments such as NFV and cloud, and can dynamically apply the necessary security functions for each IoT device.

5G makes carriers rethink networks, says Tangoe, a Telecom Expense Management (TEM) and Mobility Management Services (MMS) company.

Fortune 1000 business leaders believe that two-thirds of employees will experience consistent 5G connectivity by 2020. There will be a rise in cost-effective as-a-Service packages and new companies providing network connectivity.

Data center company Equinix anticipates that 5G will open up endless possibilities of digital transformation, especially in an IoT and AI-connected world.

5G operators are looking to optimize costs by using open-source networking hardware and virtualization of the wireless networking stack. These efforts will pave the way for an Edge architecture to solve for cloud radio networks that will power several radios through pools of virtualized network software.

IDG predicts that the market for 5G and 5G-related network infrastructure will grow from approximately $528 million in 2018 to $26 billion in 2022, exhibiting a compound annual growth rate of 118 percent.

The shift to 5G will catalyze new operational models, new architectures, and new vulnerabilities. The industry is expecting that more 5G IoT devices will connect directly to the 5G network rather than via a Wi-Fi router. This trend will make IoT devices more vulnerable to direct cyber-attacks.

Baburajan K