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Industry watchdogs warn that 5G has the potential to worsen existing threats and introduce new ones.

The Brookings Institution, a nonprofit public policy organization, has identified several ways in which 5G networks are more vulnerable to cyberattacks than their predecessors:

  • The network moves away from centralized, hardware-based switching to distributed, software-defined digital routing, removing the potential to utilize hardware choke points where cyber hygiene could be practiced.
  • 5G further complicates its cyber vulnerability by virtualizing in software higher-level network functions formerly performed by physical appliances, a move that increases reliance on standardized building block protocols and systems that have proven to be valuable tools for those seeking to do ill.
  • Even if it were possible to lock down the software vulnerabilities within the network, the network is also being managed by software — often early generation artificial intelligence — that itself can be vulnerable. An attacker that gains control of the software managing the networks can also control the network.
  • The dramatic expansion of bandwidth creates additional avenues of attack, as the small-cell antennas deployed throughout urban areas become new hard targets.
  • New vulnerabilities are created by connecting tens of billions more hackable smart devices to the Internet of Things — from public safety things, to battlefield things, to medical things, to transportation things — all of which are both wonderful and uniquely vulnerable.

In other words, along with the many positive benefits of 5G technology comes a lengthy list of concerns, from the individual and personal to the national and global.

Some of the headline concerns include:

  • The very real possibility of malicious hackers using the speed of 5G to more easily infiltrate personal devices, home security systems, self-driving cars and even pacemakers.
  • National enemies infiltrating 5G technology to bring down essential infrastructure like communications systems or power grids.

What all this means is that cybersecurity professionals have their work cut out for them in trying to understand and defend against the new security risks imposed by 5G’s technological breakthroughs – an architecture that brings both amazing and frightening things along with it.

Want to know more? Tonex offers 5G Cybersecurity training. Participants learn how the future of wireless technology holds the promise of total connectivity as well as onerous susceptibilities to  cyberattacks and surveillance.

For more information, questions, comments, contact us.

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