Cybersecurity and 5G: Threats and challenges to look for

The fifth generation of cellular networking, famously shortened to 5G, has taken the world by storm. This newest game-changing technology is set to usher in some exciting opportunities for modernization and tech progression. With the advent of 5G, mobile connectivity has been taken to another level with awe-inspiring spikes in speeds and the lowest levels of latency. What’s more jaw-dropping is that its network capacity is ten times more than its predecessor, 4G, and can easily reach up to a million devices per square kilometer.

Reports suggest that this technology has the speed that can reach 2 Gbit/s initially whereas in soon enough, it will grow on to reach 100 Gbit/s and that is almost 100 times faster than its predecessor, 4G. If you are new to the concept of fast and high-speed internet, you might want to up your game entirely. While 5G is ready to give your cellular network a push, you should explore Spectrum plans to check out the amazing internet packages offering lightning fast internet speeds at affordable rates, for great connectivity at all times.

Technologies that have already begun to shape the world in unusual shades like the Internet of Things or commonly IoT would also be benefited with 5G. In short, the progression of 5G is directly related to technology development. Now that companies are getting ready for inculcating this brilliant technology to benefit their products and services, hackers and cybercriminals are also finding loopholes and vulnerabilities in the new system to exploit the user base. For future growth of technology, cybersecurity is inclusively critical for 5G. broadband cellular users need to understand the risks and concerns that come along with the upgrade from 4G to 5G to stay secure.

How is 5G advantageous?

The obvious advantage of 5G is a better broadband cellular connectivity experience, although 5G is believed to act as a catalyst for other breakthrough technologies. It has several by-products and perhaps we can sum up this way:

Updated Internet of Things (IoT)

The idea is that 5G designs battery-powered devices that can stay connected and active allowing a completely wireless system.

Smart Homes turning to Smart Cities

Smart Homes have already started building and if our inspiration is somewhat Living like The Jetsons, then we need to shape our cities to become smart as well. 5G supported IoT devices give us the chance to really live like The Jetsons by giving cities a better framework monitoring. It can, then, further be used for industrial automation as well

5G and Cybersecurity concerns

Contrary to the working capability of 3G and 4G networks, the fifth-generation cellular network is set to offer much faster broadband speeds, reliable connectivity, and lower latency. All of this is enough to enhance user experience but as famously coined, every light has its shadow, and thus 5G comes with various opportunities for cybercriminals as well. Here is a brief breakdown of some important 5G security concerns that the users, individuals, and corporations, need to be aware of.

Dispersed levels of security

Predecessors of the 5G network made it easy to monitor security checkpoints on account of their lesser hardware traffic contact points but with the dynamic model of 5G, it would be difficult to monitor and keep all the checkpoints secure. 

Larger attack surface

As discussed above, 5G networks are said to connect with much more IoT devices, cybercriminals will have far more entry points for painting targeted attacks, as well. In simple words, the more devices connected, the larger the surface area for being target points of cyber-attacks.

Subsequent bigger after-effects

Once infrastructures and enterprises become dependent on 5G networks, everything from smart cars to hospitals to air traffic would be controlled by 5G network towers. The previous point already suggests that the more IoT devices connected together, the more the chances for attacks, and with this logic, the impact of such an invasion would be greater as well. Such cyberattacks can be so abrasive that public safety can come on the line as well.

Corporations offenses

It is common knowledge that the U.S. had banned Huawei equipment from its 5G networks last year in an attempt to protect the privacy of U.S. citizens from being invaded by the Chinese government. It has yet not been proven that the Chinese government had any interest in such absurdity although it brings us to our point. Manufacturers can use the improved connectivity of 5G devices to spy on their users.

Encryption Failures

Due to the lack of early encryption in connectivity procedures, information of devices could be used for device-specific IoT targeted attacks. Hackers can take advantage of this information to know the infrastructure of connected devices and the detailed notes on device type or operating system might help them plan cybercrimes with precision and accuracy.

Some other cyber threats include:

Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks can overburden a server or website to make it go offline.

Botnet attacks occur when hackers take control of multiple connected devices for a massic attack.

Call interception and tracking of location are executable for people with little knowledge of broadcast paging protocol.

Man in the Middle (MiTM) attacks work quietly most in the background which changes communication between two parties in a subtle manner.

Should we not use 5G?

The purpose of this article is to educate you about the cyber threats and challenges that come along with 5G and not to make you reluctant to use this super technology. Individuals and enterprises should be excited to use 5G networks and so what about these threats? Taking precautions is always the answer. 

According to WHO, almost 1.35 million people die globally in road accidents every year but that does not mean that you should not drive or travel per se. these statistics are never shared to scare you away but the main purpose of quantifying such occurrences is to make sure people drive safely and take precautions while being on the road and the same applies here as well.

We need to prepare ourselves to use 5G technology while being safe and some of the ways to protect your privacy are:

  • Use a VPN
  • Install antivirus software on all devices
  • Create strong and unique passwords for all accounts and devices
  • For owners of IoT devices, update default credentials regularly
  • Update all the IoT devices with security patches

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