For tech experts, 5G is considered to be the most important network of this century. Internet usage is expected to reach faster speeds with the said iteration. For any individuals or organizations that rely on online connections for their daily routines or operations, this can be considered good news. With faster download speeds, this can expedite video-streaming, remote working, or online communication. Still, like every new development, there are several concerns that come with 5G. One would be cybersecurity, which needs to stay robust against attacks in the face of the mobile network upgrade
The Internet of Things
A major aspect that is looked into by security experts would be how devices connected to the internet to communicate with each other. Dubbed "The Internet of Things" or IoT, this system can range from household products to industrial machinery that has sensors with internet access for remote control by users. They could be factory instruments, security cameras at home, or traffic lights on the street. IoT devices may proliferate quickly, with research predicting a rise from 14.2 billion to 25 billion devices by 2021. While IoT devices for industrial purposes might benefit from a business's security measures, IoT devices used by the average consumer might not have such protection. Cyberattacks might, therefore, target households more easily than industries.
Like smartphones, IoT devices can get connected to 5G when it comes. Unlike smartphones, IoT devices might not have strong security or encryption methods. Because of this, they become especially prone to attempts by hackers to launch cyber attacks that might inconvenience or endanger users. This is due to how some IoT devices, especially low-powered ones, might have been made with low-cost security patches. For example, a smartwatch or a medical wearable device might get hacked to illegally track a person's activity, invade their privacy, or steal their passwords.
Hackers have already exploited these vulnerabilities, such as the "Mirai" cyber attack in 2016. Cameras, routers, and digital video recorders that were connected online were used to bring down notable websites like Spotify, The New York Times, and Twitter. The culprits used two methods to carry out the attack: a "distributed denial of service" or DDOS and "botnets". A botnet can control the IoT devices remotely against the owners, while the DDOS can shut down a website or network by overwhelming them with messages.
Step Toward Security
In an effort to up the cybersecurity of today's devices for 5G, government bodies, telecoms, and tech groups are working on new security standards. AT&T chief security officer Bill O' Hern says that the massive increase in data volume that will come with the 5G network might mean a "wider attack surface" for hackers, which can be for monetary, political, or other untoward purposes.
Accenture cybersecurity expert Valentino de Sousa also shows an awareness of the danger, saying how cyberattacks could manifest as "robocallers" which uses pre recorded messages to fool the recipient. This year, bipartisan legislation was introduced in the Senate, called the "Internet of Things (IoT) Cybersecurity Improvement Act of 2019. It mandates that devices purchased by the U.S. government meet minimum security requirements. With governing bodies and tech experts at work to improve cybersecurity, the future of 5G looks secure in the meantime.