A cybersecurity expert explains a big threat that comes with 5G

A cybersecurity expert explains a big threat that comes with 5G
Yes, 5G is going to be faster, provide better connectivity, a substantially higher amount of data is going to move around these modern networks. At the same time, applications are going to be coded such that they are lightweight and have low footprint but that also makes them more vulnerable to attacks.
  • The threat of attacks and data breaches can grow exponentially in the upcoming 5G era, says Sean Duca from Palo Alto Networks.
  • While Duca's firm has interest in selling security applications around the world, the European Union issued a similar warning around 5G last week.
  • The way applications are designed and codes are written for them to run in 5G, they become more vulnerable to attacks and can spread faster than ever before.
The excitement around the fifth-generation of mobile services, or 5G as it is popularly called, is palpably increasing every day. The India Mobile Congress underway in Delhi is witnessing some breathtaking demonstrations of a hi-tech life coming our way thanks to 5G networks that will be rolled out around the world in the months and years to come.

It is easy to get carried away in the excitement and ignore some of the threats that 5G technology may bring with it. "The challenge is every single mobile provider on the planet is seeing attacks and malware traversing through their networks right now. The problem is something there and it is going to grow exponentially as we move into 5G," Sean Duca, the Chief Security Officer for the Asia-Pacific region for Palo Alto Networks, told Business Insider.

It is important to mention that Duca's firm has interest in selling cybersecurity applications around the world, but his view is similar to the warning issued by the European Union last week. "With 5G, we are moving into a more virtualised networks. A lot of the software that’s going to be driving this is going to be running in containers, which basically means that each application is built in a way that it has very low footprint but that low footprint may also mean vulnerabilities that can be exploited," Duca explains.

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A cybersecurity expert explains a big threat that comes with 5G

To put it simply, may be even too simply, imagine every application as a tomato. In the 5G context, these tomatoes are put in the same basket with other fruits or vegetables with different threshold for rotting. If one of them in the basket starts rotting, the others are put at risk too. "When a developer writes an application in their container, they could be borrowing code from other people or any other place away from the incident," Duca added.

Yes, 5G is going to be faster, provide better connectivity, a substantially higher amount of data is going to move around these modern networks. At the same time, applications are going to be coded such that they are lightweight and have low footprint but that also makes them more vulnerable to attacks, according to Sean. "The attackers are leveraging technology, we should be leveraging technology to try and defend our organisation as well," he said.

The onus will be on telecom service providers, banks, and other firms that rely on technology to run their operations, and to store data, to ensure that adequate security measures are in place to identify threats and stop attacks from spreading in quick time.
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