The fifth generation of cellular networks (5G) will provide new technological advancement and innovation opportunities. Developing technologies like the IoT (IoT) is expected to grow with 5G. However, hackers are already eyeing its vulnerabilities as new opportunities to launch large-scale cyberattacks. Better cyber security is essential to our future with 5G.
The next upgrade from 4G to 5G concerns almost everyone who uses a cellular connection. It is prudent to understand the cyber security that the 5G network offers and where it might not be enough.
What is 5G?
5G is an abbreviated term that refers to the fifth generation of wireless cellular networks.
Each of the first four generations brought a new level of connectivity, with 3G and 4G systems focusing on improving mobile data. 5G tries to continue this trend and expand the use of mobile broadband access. 5G will work alongside 4G and eventually wholly replace it.
How does 5G work?
To simplify the explanation, 5G transmits a large amount of data over shorter distances than 4G LTE. This helps speed and consistency of connection signals and the network itself, even when it is running. The network can also support more devices due to the use of new signal spectrums. In addition to all this, energy-efficient technology allows you to use less energy.
Why choose 5G?
While 4G LTE is powerful, we rapidly outperform this network as we push it to its limits. Current LTE networks are becoming overloaded in significant cities, with frequent slowdowns occurring at peak times of the day. In addition, the rise of “smart” Internet-connected devices will mean that we need a faster and more capable system to support the billions of devices that already exist.With these and other advantages, mobile data becomes cheaper, faster and consumes less energy, allowing us to connect many more devices than we can today.
What are some of the possibilities with 5G?
Obviously, the best experiences on the Internet are a direct result of this network. Beyond this, the fifth generation of mobile broadband will bring many benefits, most of which can be defined as follows:
Upgrading to a massive Internet of Things (IoT) will foster technology-based growth for both industry and consumers. Although many IoT devices are already in use , they are limited by the current framework of the Internet. 5G means battery-powered devices can stay active and connected with fewer adjustments, enabling new completely wireless uses in remote, inconvenient or hard-to-reach areas. Everything from thermostats and smart speakers, to sensors in industrial load and city power grids, will function.
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Smart cities and Industry 4.0 aim to give us more efficient, safe and productive work and life. 5G-backed IoT is key to providing municipalities with better infrastructure oversight. It will also be used for intelligent automation in factories by dynamically changing work processes.
What is the difference between 4G and 5G?
Some notable differences allow 5G to do things that 4G LTE can’t.
Compared to 4G LTE, 5G has the following benefits:
5G is faster than 4G, with more bits per second capable of travelling over the network. With new upload and download speeds, you could be downloading movies in seconds instead of minutes.
5G is more responsive than 4G, with lower latency, referring to the time required for communications between devices and networks. Since machines can “talk” to the web faster, you’ll quickly get data.
5G uses less power than 4G as it can quickly switch to low power usage when cellular radios are not in use. This prolongs device battery life to allow devices to stay offline longer.
5G provides an efficient and fast service, more reliable than 4G, due to better use of bandwidth and more connection points. Data costs can be less than 4G networks, thanks to lower network usage.
5G supports more devices than 4G as it expands the available radio waves. Congestion issues slowing down service will lessen once 5G hits the scene.
In general, 5G is an excellent advance for cellular networks. Similar to the legendary shift from wired dial-up to high-speed broadband, we will begin to rethink what mobile data can do.
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That said, there is one significant drawback that prevents 4G from being wholly replaced at this point:
5G is difficult to install and implement. Some regions have physical challenges, such as protected historic sites or rugged geography. More transmitters are needed to cover the same area as the current 4G networks. Providers are still working on placement of some of these “cells”.
The slow rollout could look like a negative for the future of 5G. However, the lengthy update could end up giving vendors time to address another big concern: security.
5G Cyber Security Concerns:
5G cyber security needs some significant improvements to avoid the growing risks of hacking. Some of the security concerns result from the network itself, while others have to do with the devices that connect to 5G. But both aspects endanger consumers, governments and businesses.
Regarding 5G and cyber security, some of the main concerns are:
Decentralized security: Pre-5G networks had fewer hardware traffic touchpoints, making security checks and maintenance easier. 5 G’s dynamic, software-based systems have many more traffic routing points. For their protection to be total, everyone needs supervision. As this could be difficult, any unsecured area could compromise other network parts.
Higher bandwidth will strain current security monitoring. While today’s networks are limited in speed and capacity, this has helped providers monitor security in real-time.The increased speed and sheer volume will challenge security teams to create new threat detection methods.
Many IoT devices are manufactured with a security gap. Not all manufacturers prioritize cyber security, as seen in many low-end intelligent devices. 5G means more utility and potential for IoT. As more devices are encouraged to connect, billions of devices with varying levels of security mean billions of potential security breach points. Smart TVs, door locks, refrigerators, speakers, and even little gadgets like a fish tank thermometer can weaken the network. The lack of security standards for IoT devices means that network breaches and hacking can be rampant.
The lack of encryption early in the connection process reveals device information used for attacks targeting specific IoT devices. This information helps hackers know precisely which devices are connected to the network. Details like the operating system and the type of device (smartphone, vehicle modem, etc.) can help hackers plan their attacks more precisely.
Cybersecurity vulnerabilities can take the form of a wide variety of attacks. Some of the known cyber threats include:
Botnet attacks take control of a network of connected devices to carry out a massive cyber attack.
Man-in-the-middle (MiTM) attacks to intercept and surreptitiously switch communications between two parties.
Location tracking and call interception can be done even by people who have only a basic understanding of broadcast hunting protocols.
The future of 5G and cyber security:
Technology developers will need to pay special attention to 5G security to prevent widespread weaknesses in national mobile networks.
The foundations of 5G security are needed first in the networks. Network providers will start to focus on protection software to cover the unique risks of 5G. They will need to collaborate with cybersecurity companies to develop solutions for encryption, network monitoring, and more.
Manufacturers need incentives to increase their security efforts.But the costs of developing and deploying security technology don’t motivate all manufacturers to focus on cybersecurity. This is especially true of low-end products like kids’ watches and cheap intelligent baby monitors. If manufacturers receive profits to offset their bottom-line losses, they are more likely to increase consumer protections.
Consumer education on IoT cyber security is necessary. The wide variation in safety quality means that product labelling standards will be needed. Because users don’t have an easy way to secure IoT devices, innovative tech makers could start holding themselves accountable with a labelling system. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) qualifies other forms of radio transmission, so the growing market for IoT devices could soon be included. Additionally, users need to be taught the importance of protecting all Internet devices with software updates.
Efforts to improve security are taking place alongside the initial 5G rollout. But since we need tangible results to perfect the means of protection, the work will continue long after 5G is implemented.
How you should prepare for 5G:
5G is a bit further away than it seems, but you’ll still need to be ready. Although the implementation will take a long time to be genuinely significant, improvements have appeared in some areas. Make sure you take care of security and privacy as much as possible:
Install an antivirus solution on all your devices. Products like Kaspersky Total Security will help prevent your devices from getting infected.
Use a VPN to prevent strangers from accessing your data without permission and snooping on your online activity.
Protect yourself with good passwords.Long strings of random and varied characters are among the best possible passwords. Includes uppercase, lowercase, symbols and numbers.
Please consult the manufacturer’s technical manuals or contact them directly to find this information.
Keep all your IoT devices up to date with security patches. Includes your mobile phone, computers, all smart home devices, and even the car’s infotainment system. Remember, any device that connects to the Internet, Bluetooth, or other data radio must have the latest updates (apps, firmware, operating system, etc.)