5G Security Challenges and How To Overcome Them

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There has been a lot of talk about 5G lately. The new generation of wireless networks is expected to bring the Internet of Things (IoT), autonomous vehicles, telemedicine, virtual reality, and many other “smart” services to everyone’s doorstep.

If you’re reading this blog, you probably know something about 5G already. It’s not just about the new Wi-Fi standard: the next generation of mobile networks will be faster, smarter, and more secure than anything we have today. 

But, before we dive too deep into the specifics of 5G and its security implications, let’s take a step back and see where we are today.

What Is 5G?

5G is the next generation of wireless internet, coming after 4G and beyond. At the network level, it’s expected to offer speeds 10 to 100 times faster than today’s 4G networks. 

At the device level, it’s expected to provide both extremely high speeds and low latency, enabling a whole new set of smart applications. 

But 5G has even more to offer: it will be the first truly global wireless standard, allowing for data to be transferred from one country to another without needing to go through a carrier’s network. 

Additionally, 5G will be extremely flexible and scalable, allowing network operators to add new verticals and applications as they see fit.

5G Security Challenges

The speed and capacity of 5G networks will usher in a new era of connectivity. 

However, 5G will also bring new security challenges: cyberattacks that exploit the reach and flexibility of 5G networks will be harder to trace and stop thanks to the technology’s decentralized architecture. 

As a result, the security of 5G networks will be at the forefront of network operators’ minds. In order to meet these future needs, network operators will have to solve a set of complex challenges.

Below is the list of 5G Security Challenges:

1. Large-Scale Deployment

Mobile operators will need to install tens of thousands of 5G cell sites in the coming years. Pushing this many hardware components into densely populated urban areas (and beyond) will bring its own set of challenges. Deploying as much large scale, would open gates for 5G network security.

2. Vertical applications

Network operators are expected to choose between offering a single, standard 5G service and adapting their offerings to individual verticals, such as healthcare. 

Some applications, such as remote surgeries and self-driving cars, are expected to be highly specialized. Such High critical application deployment requires a very well-defined security implementation at every step.

3. Fierce Competition

With the rollout of 5G, operators will battle to win the customers’ hearts and minds. This will be especially challenging in the United States, where many network operators are already fierce competitors. Fierce competitors are since long in market with more security strategies, it could be a task to put steps in markets with competing stretgies.

4. Adoption Challenges

While the technical challenges of 5G are solvable, the marketing challenges are more difficult to overcome. Initial phase of adoption and lack of understanding the network can allow the more chances for lack of security enforcement.

Strategies for 5G Security

In order to meet these challenges, network operators will have to implement a range of strategies, below are the strategies operators can follow to overcome the 5G security challenges:

1. Security from the Start

Early in the development process, network operators will have to address the challenges of 5G security. To do so, they will have to develop comprehensive security strategies and put them into action.

2. Vulnerability Management

This is the process by which operators identify and fix known security issues in their networks.

3. Security Forensics

 Once a vulnerability has been identified, network operators will need to figure out how the breach occurred and who is responsible. Vulnerability data should be published once fixed so help to understand all operators where 5G Security lacks.