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The 5G Technologies and Cybersecurity

History has witnessed that whenever we rush in to expand the computing and power or interconnect these two, we expose ourselves to the new levels of cybersecurity risks. There are only two words that differentiate this generation from the upcoming ones: speed and latency.

The 5G is estimated to be 100% times faster than the current iteration and can efficiently reduce the delays in execution for an online task. The 5G technology has been the talk-of-the-talk for the entire world as it was suspected to change the entire spectrum of the internet.

Billions of dollars have been poured into the development of this technology. However, effective implementation requires a composite approach for a quality network infrastructure.

The 5G technology will start a new era of low latency for the internet of things; these also include remote robotics and autonomous and hypersonic weapons.

So far, the governments and the mobile carriers have focused on how to implement the pre-emptive security to their fastest services efficiently. However, looking back at the first IoT technology the history might repeat itself, and we might expose ourselves to a whole new landscape of hackers and attackers to abuse and leverage us. Although it sounds scary, the prevention of cyber threats highly depends on carefully curated, timely actions.

Although the 5G is the new player in the market, it is also an enticing domain for threat actors.

5G Exposed! Discoveries Show New Vulnerabilities

A report highlighted that there is a flaw in 5G technology as per which the surveillance entities to exploit the international mobile subscriber identity catcher to eavesdrop on devices. These vulnerabilities affect the authentication and key agreement protocol which was once used to generate passwords. This protocol uses symmetric cryptography in its mechanism to generate the one-time password.

Related: Severe Vulnerability Affects 3G, 4G and the Upcoming 5G Protocol

The vulnerability will reveal the details of the mobile user which includes:

  • The number of messages sent and received
  • Number of calls made

Back in 2018, Director of the Canadian Security Intelligence Services (CSIS) David Vignault expressed his concerns over the 5G technology and said that it can target large corporations and lead to information theft. This technology can also be used to target both civilian and military personnel.

Global Politics and the Race to 5G

The current political crisis has put the economies of countries worldwide at stake. It is of no surprise that superpowers have their rivalries to infect the development of 5G technology. Since states are poisoned to confront each other in the tech realm, long-standing geopolitical conflicts are predicted.

Chinese tech Huawei was the recent epicenter of this global conflict. The global leader of the telecommunications infrastructure market despite facing bans in Australia, New Zealand, and America has settled over 40 contracts to deliver the 5G technology across the globe.

The war between China and the USA over launching the opportunity first makes it the hot news and has seen a ban on Huawei in the USA, Canada, and New Zealand. Huawei has lost 33% of its share in the market since the USA decided to discontinue Android services for the phone, along with no YouTube and Google.

China has cleared its stance that it will dominate the 5G technology from the start of the deployment of infrastructure. It appears that Beijing is determined to control the development of 5G technology and wants to leverage the 5G system for its own benefit.

Potential Risks in the 5G Protocol

The fundamentals of 5G technology are vulnerable to potential risks, just like its forerunners. Accessibility, data security, and confidentiality are concerns with this budding technology. The 3G and 4G technologies have brought vulnerabilities, and just like the previous generations, the 5G technology is set to be challenged by the same hurdles.

A very concerning flaw was revealed during the 2017 Black Hat conference in Las Vegas, which could allow affordable phone surveillance and location tracking. The 3G and 4G devices deployed worldwide were found vulnerable to IMSI catchers aka Stingray devices. In other words, a serious cryptographic vulnerability was discovered the protocol used in 3G and 4G LTE networks enabling devices to connect with the operator.

Related: Cryptographic Flaw in 3G and 4G Networks: All Devices Exposed

On top of these inherited risks, like accessibility to data and malware threats, online security will become scarcer than ever and the magnitude of online security barricades should be upgraded to counter potential future threats.

The new technology (5G) will revolutionize the entire IoT framework. It will be the soul of new technologies and will be the center of attention for innovators.

Super-Fast Connectivity and User Privacy

As it stands, the mobile network operators are largely diversified but more than excited for the new technology. In terms of privacy, the consolidation of power is in the hands of companies, and they should trigger an alarm for the customers.

Well, 5G should facilitate confidentiality as to where it is required. It must involve multi-context security, and two-factor encryption is needed to control the situation.

Despite the right amount of media coverage, no nation is opposing the new tech advancement. It would be interesting to see what the democratic government does in the long run and how the corporate body complies with the unfitted access of its citizens.

It would also be interesting to see how the innocuous-seeming technology will be paired by regulatory bodies and how it will challenge liberal values.

About the Author: Devin Smith

Devin Smith is a tech-mech by profession, and also passionate about finding variant indulgence of the Tech World. He has studied marketing and now turning his exposure into the experience; when you find him playing soccer, it must be his spare hours.

NOTE: The opinions expressed in this guest article do not necessarily reflect SensorsTechForum’s opinion on the subject.

SensorsTechForum Guest Authors

The opinions expressed in these guest posts are entirely those of the contributing author, and may not reflect those of SensorsTechForum.

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