The 5G era is rapidly approaching, offering higher speeds and reduced latency to enable plenty of new corporate applications.
Unfortunately, although the next-generation cellular technology intended to be more robust than its predecessors, 3G and 4G, 5G Data Security Challenges is also far more challenging to govern.
5G provides a greater security risk, in part because it introduces new attack vectors. In addition, the technology is poised to create a massive network of connected gadgets, called the Internet of Things (IoT).
5G radios will install everything from computers to copy machines to break room vending machines, regardless of whether people work remotely or out of an office.
Particularly in India, where Cybersecurity awareness is still in its infancy, and as more people work remotely, this exposes firms to possible vulnerabilities caused by employees’ home IoT devices.
It is even more critical for enterprises to protect the security of their distributed settings. With the eventual deployment of 5G, organizations will face new security difficulties – and hackers will have new possibilities.
We already see potential dangers and an increase in cyber-rattacks as 5G technology becomes more widely adopted. But, more significantly, we must grasp how to safeguard ourselves while still utilizing 5G services.
5G Data Security Challenges Every Business Need to Know About
#1. Visibility Issues
As with 3G and 4G, a lack of visibility may be a concern with 5G.
Given its speed and capability to transmit exponentially more data, visibility may be a more significant challenge than ever.
At most, we’ll be able to determine whether a device is equipped with a 5G radio and is operating in a 5G environment. However, because there will be no sight into what communicates over that radio, it will be difficult to detect suspicious action.
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We will be able to observe 5G radioactivity using a spectrometer, for example. Still, we will not differentiate between benign and malicious 5G activity since we will not see what includes in that communication path.
Unmanaged devices pose an increased security risk, as hackers may be able to steal data undetected. However, managed devices provide their own set of issues.
While hackers may not remain undiscovered throughout the attack, they might still exploit the 5G back-channel to exfiltrate data.
Regardless, risk management is practically tricky without knowing what exists and what is occurring in one’s environment, which is why a lack of visibility inside 5G environments will be a significant issue.
From a threat standpoint, enterprises may require IoT devices to connect to the corporate Wi-Fi to obtain visibility into traffic and detect unusual communications.
If you could install an agent on manageable devices, you could see when something unmanaged communicates over the 5G radio.
However, this does not ensure that you will comprehend what the gadget is saying, making it extremely difficult to detect attacks in progress.
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#2. Higher Bandwidth Invites Hackers
Currently, most enterprise devices lack 4G chips, as 4G is not much quicker than Wi-Fi. However, 5G technology will outperform its predecessors in terms of speed, bandwidth, and latency, making it more prevalent than 4G was ever.
While quicker speeds would undoubtedly benefit consumers, they will also have drawbacks, as hackers will take advantage of them.
For instance, an attacker can acquire covert access to a copier machine equipped with a 5G radio because of the lack of visibility and gain access to the entire machine’s critical data.
The attacker then promptly exfiltrates all of that data — without raising a single red flag – aided by the bandwidth and speed of 5G. It is too late if and when the compromise is detected.
Another regrettable but genuine risk that enterprises must confront is the risk of an advanced attacker infiltrating their network and actively seeking extra financial incentives.
5G does not necessitate a higher level of competence on the part of hackers, as they can penetrate the network via the same attack methods. However, 5G gives attackers a considerably more significant potential to cause havoc, as they can now exfiltrate enormous volumes of data more quickly than ever before.
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#3. More Entry Points for Hackers
5th generation wireless networks are primarily software-based in their architecture. This distinguishing feature renders them especially susceptible to security flaws caused by companies’ inefficient software development procedures.
Critical weaknesses could enable malefactors to inject backdoors into apps, granting them long-lasting covert access to various targeted 5G infrastructure layers.
#4. Network Slicing Issue
Given that 5G will enable multiple services and applications to operate within distinct virtualized environments, such as enterprise and government networks, the need to safeguard these logically segmented ecosystems will expand.
Unless these network pieces (slices) are reliably isolated and protected, they can be vulnerable to data leakage.
#5. Software Updates
In 5G networks, new operational maintenance methods come into focus. This is important when it comes to software upgrades.
Regular system patches are essential for mitigating the possibility of malicious exploitation via application security flaws. Software vendors must prioritize finding new vulnerabilities and issuing relevant patches as quickly as feasible.
#6. The Talent Gap
The advancements of 5G networks and their anticipated widespread use will incentivize thieves to change their attack vectors. The security industry should support extremely complex adversary TTP (Tactics, Techniques, and Procedures). As a result, it is vital to fill the gap regarding security personnel who possess the necessary skills and knowledge of 5G architecture and potential weak points.
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Steps to Protect Against 5G Security Threats
Businesses should not hold back from 5G-enabled products just due to security concerns. Rather than that, they must recognize that 5G will soon become an unavoidable part of the business environment and that the sensible option is to safeguard the corporate infrastructure. The following are some active measures businesses can take to fight these threats.
#1. Secure the Backdoor
5G has the potential to introduce a backdoor into your network. Consider network segmentation – what the environment permits – and plan for an internet-facing IT system. Ascertain that everything is visible.
This does not mean it must tightly manage; instead, it means you should have visibility and the ability to handle it as much as necessary.
#2. Recognize the Devices Connected to the Network
Identify unmanaged devices in the environment. This may be not easy if they communicate exclusively over 5G, but network scans can discover them if they also transmit via Wi-Fi.
Additionally, unmanaged devices can use an EDR product that monitors all network connections to and from managed devices. Conducting a query to discover all communications to and from an unmanaged IP or MAC address may reveal this information.
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#3. Correct the Basics
Simple encryption and access controls give an adequate level of protection for data and its access.
Keep these risks in mind as new infrastructure and services introduced, and are mindful of the implications that 5G carries with it. The arrival of 5G will emphasize the importance of protecting every layer of the environment, and businesses will profit from beginning today to take precautionary measures.
5G will be another revolutionary and enabling technology. It will be your companion, but ensure that connection does not end in disappointment by taking a realistic risk-management approach to its deployment in your environment.