What is the 5G network?
The fifth generation (5G) network is an advanced wireless network technology that's comprised of an all-inclusive ecosystem of radio frequencies, data exchanges, and technical communications. It's an overhaul of our traditional and essential networks, transforming them into a modern infrastructure that provides a vast array of new connections, capabilities, and services. The most innovative aspect of 5G technology and cybersecurity is that it claims to transmit data and communication three times faster than its predecessor (4G). It also comes with a latency rate of one millisecond, which means users will experience fewer delays when accessing websites or information on the internet.1
Market demographics: How big is the 5G industry?
The worldwide 5G network infrastructure market is forecasted to reach US $131.4 billion by 2030.2 The growth is accredited to the new norms (made prevalent due to COVID-19), such as the shift to remote work, optimized and fast broadband connectivity, bandwidth-consuming applications, social media, video streaming, and overseas uninterrupted video calls. Businesses across industries in North America, Europe, and Asia-Pacific are seeing increasing rates of adoption of 5G. The communication security segment, which is an important part of the security market, is forecasted to register the fastest growth at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 49.2%.3 This is due to technological advancements made possible by artificial intelligence and blockchain solutions that help provide innovative cybersecurity.
How can 5G improve cybersecurity?
5G network is relatively new, and its short-term business impact is expensive and lengthy in terms of deployment. The simple reason for this is because of its recent entry in the market with only a few players dominating the industry. Despite this, 5G solutions can offer long-term economical and convenient benefits, and as more players are introduced to the 5G industry over time, prices and service offerings are likely to become more competitive.
With the advent of 5G, cybersecurity has changed. A 5G cybersecurity toolbox/solution offers improved network security through international mobile subscriber identity (IMSI) encryption. Additionally, all traffic data sent over the 5G network is encrypted, integrated, protected, and follows a mutual authentication policy to ensure maximum data protection. 5G security also offers a stronger backbone for the deployment of artificial intelligence (AI), the internet of things (IoT), cloud computing, etc. It leverages network virtualization, which combines hardware and software resources into a single entity, and deep packet inspection (DPI), which carefully inspects data being sent over a computer network, among others.
In terms of its impact on cybersecurity, 5G is likely to be a powerful tool. It can accelerate the speed at which cyber threats are identified and eventually allow faster data analysis, data downloads, and communication across organizations globally. With the potential to integrate with smart devices, a cyber audit will have a wider scope to restrain vulnerabilities wherever they occur.
FAQs on 5G cybersecurity
What are the unique selling points (USPs) of 5G?
5G wireless technology provides multi-gigabit per second (Gbps) peak data speeds, ultra-low latency, and greater dependability. It also provides better network capacity, increased availability, and a more consistent user experience for a larger number of users.
Why is 5G cybersecurity better than 4G?
The advanced generation (5G and cybersecurity) offers better speed, security, and reliability than 4G. This is due to greater bandwidth and more connection points. 5G can also accommodate connectivity to more devices with its expanded radio waves.
What is the cost of 5G cybersecurity compared to 4G?
Right now, 5G is expensive. The primary reasons are the limited geographical presence of 5G network towers and the need for compatibility with existing devices. Because 5G is an advanced generation of 4G, it is most likely going to cost more until it reaches the late phase of its service lifecycle. However, the value proposition 5G offers over 4G, such as reduced network stress and easier upgrades through digital networks, makes it worth the investment.
The existence of a few 5G service-enabled cybersecurity providers in this space creates a high demand for coverage. The early providers are gaining the advantage of early adopters and earning high commissions for their service, but this will change with multiple providers and increased competition for customer retention.
5G cybersecurity might be expensive in the short term, but there are definite economic benefits that can be reaped in the long run.
Additional reading: Deploying IT security governance to address cyber threats.
Is 5G cybersecurity free of cyber threats?
The sophistication of cyber threats continues to evolve, so there are still 5G cybersecurity threats. While 5G could mitigate most of the cyber threats with artificial intelligence, faster cyber threat detections, better management, and encryption of data, the digital ecosystem remains vulnerable to the ever-evolving threat landscape. The use of IoT and the Internet of Medical Technologies (IoMT) in 5G cybersecurity provides more areas for exploration. There is no doubt that 5G cybersecurity can provide better protection against cyber criminals, however, it can create new 5G network security concerns and vulnerabilities that have not been detected yet.
How will cybersecurity become more time efficient with 5G?
Unlike traditional networks using hardware-based switching, 5G uses distributed, software-defined digital routing, allowing for computer-driven protection that is pushed through the digital network. This is possible with the implementation of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) within a 5G-centered cybersecurity program. Organizations can also include dedicated endpoint security solutions to detect, monitor, and identify 5G security threats and enable remote responses to mitigate any discrepancies.
What is the major challenge with 5G cybersecurity?
Since 5G cybersecurity is a new generation of networks, global implementation will require the setup of new network towers. Consequently, implementing it will require time, so 5G-backed cybersecurity might be a distant hope for many developing nations.
Early implementers need to conduct a thorough analysis with strategic planning to ensure proper utilization. Their analysis should be detailed and include current market-based measures, cyber threat adversaries, government intervention requirements, impact drivers, etc. This must be followed by continuous and timely upgrades for optimal network security.
What are the key steps to make 5G cybersecurity highly secure?
We suggest you adopt a zero-trust framework. This requires mandatory verification and authorization, and it conducts a perpetual check of security configurations for all users requesting or accessing data. This check should be irrespective of the user’s designation and should apply to users from both inside and outside the organization.
A zero-trust framework enables 5G cybersecurity to:
- Eliminate implicit trust and continuously validate every stage of digital interaction
- Reduce threat surface by strict validation of authorized user access only
- Provides secure access to services and protection against air interface across multiple devices
- Conducts regular security monitoring against cyber vulnerabilities, measures implemented security standards and compliance adherence
- The zero-trust framework's end-to-end protection and monitoring methods ensure every activity on the 5G network is secure
At which stage are periodic risk assessments important?
Periodic risk assessments are important during all stages of cybersecurity planning. They will help identify and eliminate risks from non-trustworthy devices that could enable a malicious actor to impact the environment. Connected components from legacy networks could also bring in threats. The risk assessments will evaluate these threats as they emerge.
The 5G network can revamp the scope of cybersecurity and offer a new standard for data security and breach mitigation. However, the implementation, being at a nascent stage, might not be straightforward. Many larger organizations and projects will require expertise - making outsourcing a preferred option.
Your chosen external partner should provide real-time management, detection, and response (MDR) services. The right partner will understand the current threats and provide appropriate network protection via threat intelligence and shared knowledge. The implemented 5G-backed cybersecurity program should be able to detect a threat, respond, contain, and mitigate its impact. CAI’s comprehensive cybersecurity solution includes assessment, governance, planning, building, management, and administration. We provide a customized cybersecurity assessment to fit your organization’s requirements.
- David. “Is 5g Safe? – Let's Take a Look!” Radiation Health Risks, August 3, 2022. https://www.radiationhealthrisks.com/5g-safe/. ↩
- “Global 5G Infrastructure Market Revenues 2020-2030.” Statista, August 11, 2022. https://www.statista.com/statistics/1256267/worldwide-5g-infrastructure-market-revenues. ↩
- “Global 5G Security Market (2021 to 2026) - by Technology, Solution, Category, Software, Services, and Industry Vertical Support.” GlobeNewswire News Room. Research and Markets, May 14, 2021. https://www.globenewswire.com/news-release/2021/05/14/2229699/28124/en/Global-5G-Security-Market-2021-to-2026-by-Technology-Solution-Category-Software-Services-and-Industry-Vertical-Support.html. ↩