The requirements for 5G security are as tough as it gets. Unfortunately, the dream of hyper-fast connectivity and low latency goes hand in hand with the nightmare of the security challenge.
It is not just because 5G is overhyped ‘5G’; it is that the threats remain essentially the same, only at warp speed. The elements that are touted as revolutionising our world on the back of 5G, combined with new ways of working, are creating a perfect storm.
IoT is an obvious example, and as we have pointed out before, companies that manufacture ‘IoT’ devices are not necessarily security savvy. And it takes a matter of a few seconds before some form of malware tests a new network device.
As 5G is rolled out in a variety of verticals, the flaws inherent within those verticals will be tested, too. From healthcare, a favourite target for hackers, to smart homes, smart factories, smart cities and autonomous cars, the threat increases at the speed of, well, 5G. And we know that all of these sectors are vulnerable to attack.
Of course, there are security standards and other industry initiatives in place, but there will always be weaknesses in networks. And, as 5G becomes ubiquitous, the network must be secure from its edge to its core. Securing the edge will be both critical and far from easy.
As new working models remain as the pandemic (hopefully) fades, remote working remains an obvious weakness, with some reports of little more than a VPN being in place to tackle the remote security issue.
Humans are no longer capable of managing security without help. While they may still design the security measures, it now takes AI systems to react at the speed required to keep networks secure.
Now we are at the stage where AI is using AI to design better solutions; by designing harder problems and then solving them, AI will soon take over as our security personnel.
The downside, of course, is that hacking groups, particularly those funded at state level, will be investing in the same technology and techniques in their effort to thwart our AI protected, 5G security protocols.
Machine will soon battle machine in an ever-escalating battle. One solution, though, is to follow former President Trump’s advice. Unplug everything and go back to paper and pen.