Great digital power, great responsibility: 5G and the challenges of cybersecurity | Jobs Reply


When Prime Minister Narendra Modi rolled out 5G in October 2022, several telecom experts and industry insiders highlighted how this next-generation technology would help India achieve its goals in various areas.

However, according to experts, 5G may also bring cybersecurity challenges.

Due to lack of support in iOS, iPhone users have been unable to connect to 5G networks in India.

In November, under pressure from the Indian government, Apple admitted that it would implement 5G support with a software update. Consequently, the company has now enabled 5G for iPhones in India running iOS 16.2 RC.

FUTURE CHALLENGES

Sunil Sharma, Managing Director of Sales, India and SAARC, Sophos, said: “The rollout of 5G in India will fundamentally change the way technology is rolled out in India. 5G technology will improve on its predecessors with faster speeds, higher bandwidth and lower latency, likely making it more common than 4G ever was. While the higher speeds definitely have their benefits for users, they will also come with drawbacks as hackers can exploit the speed.”

Another expert, Sujit Patel, MD and CEO of SCS Tech, told News18 about three specific challenges related to 5G. “As 5G networks enable billions of connected devices, traditionally insecure IoT devices that become part of that network can be particularly vulnerable. Increased risks from supply chain attacks on 5G infrastructure could result in malicious software and hardware being provided by untrusted vendors. Also, the increased volume of data flowing over 5G networks will put a strain on security surveillance.”

Subhash Dutta (Retd.), COO and head of malware research at Sequretek, said that 5G is already being tested for a select few customers in different parts of the country, trying to deliver on its promises of enabling higher speeds and lower latency, and increased capacity to support growing demand for data. “The 5G network will also have a larger attack surface due to the greater number of devices and connections it supports. This means that potential entry points for hackers will only increase. It relies on a complex infrastructure that includes multiple layers of network components such as base stations, routers, and switches. Hackers could potentially exploit any vulnerabilities in this infrastructure.”

Dutta also said that a complicated supply chain, including hardware, software and service providers, supports the 5G network, so if that supply chain is compromised in any way, there could be security vulnerabilities throughout the network. “Also, the 5G network is still in its infancy and there are currently no established security standards for it, meaning different countries and companies may have different approaches to securing their networks, which could introduce inconsistencies and potential vulnerabilities.”

Concluding, Dutta said: “The higher speeds and lower latency of the 5G network make it more vulnerable to distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks, which can overwhelm a network by flooding it with traffic. ”

PRECAUTIONS

Dutta said laws and policies should be neutral and not focus on any particular technology. “The focus should be on training law enforcement (including legal professionals) to keep up with technological changes. India has had the unique distinction of bringing a large portion of its population onto digital platforms, including those offering financial inclusion. Therefore, raising public awareness about the safe use of 5G-enabled devices is essential.”

Meanwhile, Patel stressed that the National Cyber ​​Security Strategy includes large-scale digitization of public services. “Developing institutional capacity to assess, evaluate, certify and evaluate the core devices, as well as timely reporting of vulnerabilities and incidents, maintaining a repository of vulnerabilities and establishing an aggregate security baseline of the sector and tracking its controls could be helpful.”

When it comes to businesses, the expert advice is to use threat intelligence. By providing visibility into the latest threats, a modern threat intelligence platform can help organizations of all sizes understand current attacker, malware, and vulnerability trends.

“By 2025, IoT connections are expected to reach 25 billion worldwide, so communications networks must prepare for the equally exponential growth in associated security risks. Device makers need to look for more sophisticated options to ensure hacktivist groups or state-backed actors cannot take control of IoT devices,” he added.

Patel said, “Updated cybersecurity and privacy awareness training protects employees from social engineering tactics used by threat actors. Preventive measures such as the use of MFA and Virtual Private Networks (VPN) protect sensitive data and user information.”

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