While 5G is set to bring significant benefits to businesses and individuals as it continues to roll out across the UK, it will also have an impact on network security and cybersecurity.

5G Benefits and Risks

5G promises to be faster, and to provide greater capacity and reliability. It will offer improved network transmission speeds and enable more devices to connect and run at the same time. This has massive implications for industry and enterprise, as well as for individual users. 5G will be a significant factor in powering the internet of things (IoT), and enabling the development of smart cities and autonomous vehicles. But with so much critical infrastructure and AI, and so much network-dependent activity involved, inevitably 5G will also change the nature of cyber threats, and the demands of cybersecurity. The same qualities of 5G that make it advantageous to users and networks, also make it more vulnerable and at risk from cyber threat.

For example:

  • Malicious hackers could use the much higher speeds of 5G to easily infiltrate personal devices
  • With the expansion of IoT, this infiltration could extend to cars, security systems, even pacemakers
  • As more critical infrastructure comes online, cyberterrorists or cybercriminals could target utilities and transport systems.

5G has been designed and conceived of as an ubiquitous network, with the potential to extend its reach into many different areas of business and people’s daily lives. This has the potential of opening these areas up to increased levels of cyber threat.

Security Implications for 5G

Total connectivity requires new approaches to cybersecurity and network security. A totally connected world is a world that is inherently more vulnerable to cyberattacks. There are several ways in which 5G is at greater risk from cyber threat. The network is far less centralised and hardware-based, with much more emphasis on digital-routing using software, with a greater reliance on standard protocols and building blocks. These are the means by which malicious cybercriminals can exploit the weaknesses of systems and networks. And if they gain control of the software, they control the network. 5G’s big expansion of bandwidth opens up new avenues of cyberattack. The more smart devices there are, the more hackable they become, which can be issues for public safety as well as security.

Modelling Network Resilience

A key part of cybersecurity will be to test and measure the security and resilience of networks. The safest and easiest way to do this is through network modelling using advanced simulation and emulation platforms, such as EXata. ST Engineering Antycip and SCALABLE Network Technologies provide powerful tools to that allows to test and analyse the impact of a cyberattack and mitigate the cyber threat to organisations across Europe.

For more information about our high-fidelity virtual models, and how you can use them to test and measure your cybersecurity, please contact us.


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