Tackling 5G’s security challenges

By Sarah Wray 5 November 2018

5G and cyber security

Coverage of 5G mainly focuses on speed, latency and new services. However, the roll-out of 5G will also present new cybersecurity challenges. A new report from trade association 5G Americas looks at how the mobile industry needs to prepare.

Critical services

5G is tipped to usher in new services such as Massive Internet of Things (MIoT) applications, including traffic sensors and vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) services that will take smart cities to the next level. Considering how critical many of these services will be, it’s more essential than ever that precautions are taken to prevent hackers from accessing data, hijacking IoT devices or causing Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks which have the potential to create widespread disruption.

The Evolution of Security in 5G whitepaper from 5G Americas highlights the “core tenets” of network security architecture required for 5G. These include evolving best practices around people, processes and tools. New cybersecurity considerations brought about by 5G include the risk of new attack surfaces opened up by cloud and edge computing, and the convergence of mobile and traditional IT networks.

The report highlights the latest ways to manage these new threats, including techniques such as automation, orchestration, distributed network build, policy, analytics and more.

The next G

The whitepaper also describes how 5G will be different from 3G and 4G in relation to radio and core network architectures, and the impact on the security mechanisms available.

Key functions and frameworks of 3G and 4G will continue to work for 5G, but 5G will also have to cope with an increased number of access technologies, varying data speeds, licensed and unlicensed spectrum on more bands and new technologies.

Further, 5G will support network slicing for the first time, and this will offer new ways to manage security risks.


The good news is that, according to 5G Americas, 3GPP has prioritised security architecture in its 5G standards work.

Chris Pearson, President, 5G Americas, said, “The mobile wireless industry has long focused on security which has been a strong differentiator against many other wireless technologies where network architectures have been more vulnerable for corruption. With the current focus on 5G, the mobile industry takes security measures to a higher level with a wide variety of new, advanced safeguards.”


About Sarah Wray

Technical Writer at 5G.co.uk

Sarah Wray is a technical writer with over 10 years' experience writing about technology, including telecoms, smart cities, data, IoT, aerospace, and more.

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