5G Networks Present New Risks and Security Challenges

5G Networks Present New Risks and Security Challenges

There is great expectation for the advances in communications that 5G networks will bring. Its massive implementation will represent a spectacular advance in data transmission, with speeds of around 20 Gbps per second, that is, the download of a one-hour Spotify playlist would be done in just 0.6 milliseconds, compared to the 7 minutes that it takes with 3G and the 20 seconds that this operation takes with 4G technology.

Speed will not be the only advantage that 5G networks will bring in Spain. It will also save energy. Some manufacturers affirm that the battery of the mobiles will be able to last a whole day, while the modems will still be much more efficient than the current ones.

What are 5G networks

Many wonder what 5G networks are since sufficing it to say that it is the technology that will reduce coverage problems in crowds of people. The greater power of 5G networks will allow for saving the electromagnetic funnel that occurs in these agglomerations.

These are very obvious advantages, which will contribute to the improvement of communications and also to the expansion of connected devices, especially those that use the Internet of Things.

5G network security

However, 5G will bring with it an important revolution in the way of facing computer security, since it is a communication structure supported by virtual systems, which poses new challenges to be able to shield the data that will travel through this network.

“The intrinsic risk is that 5G depends on numerous technologies that make up several layers (1), each with its own security challenges, and there are no simple solutions to analyze the security of these environments before deployment,” says the Director of the research group Network, Information and Computer Security Lab (NICS Lab) of the University of Malaga, Javier López.

This research group at the University of Malaga, made up of around twenty people, has specialized in the development of cybersecurity systems, and in recent times has been focusing on researching solutions for this technology.

Extreme cybersecurity with 5G

Javier López, who since last February has been vice-rector for Business, Territory and Digital Transformation, explains that these networks must take extreme security measures, since “numerous services will depend on the entire 5G infrastructure, which will offer the support for the deployment of new business models ”.

In the same way, the infrastructures that make these networks possible also become an objective to protect. They will be much more sensitive infrastructures, since a fall could lead to a real disaster, as the services and devices hooked on this technology multiply, some of them especially sensitive, such as health services or autonomous transport.

As the NICS Lab director explains, 5G networks will be exposed to the same threats as today’s networks. But they are much more sensitive because the effect of an attack can have a much greater effect than one of today’s networks, due to “the dependence that we will have on these systems.”

Safer networks

Despite all the threats, and precisely for this reason, 5G technology has security advantages over previous networks. For example, it streamlines the configuration of the infrastructure and allows various dimensions for device management, which, in Javier López’s opinion, “improves the planning of security policies, as long as possible threats are carefully analyzed. over the different layers of communications. ”

NICS Lab has participated and led several research projects on security in 5G networks. His work consists mainly of analyzing the security advantages of this technology in the deployment of the most exposed devices in this environment.

Vehicle Internet with 5G networks

“For example, the SAVE project focuses on the Internet of Vehicles (IoV), where the connected vehicle needs minimal response times that only 5G can offer (for example, to react to an accident or an abrupt change in conditions of the road) ”.

This project has two derivatives. On the one hand, how to contribute to making 5G for the Internet of vehicles a reality, with the identification of security problems; and how to prevent these security issues from spreading to end devices, which in this case are autonomous cars, a highly compromised matter, because no autonomous vehicle can be allowed to be controlled by a hacker.

With these projects, the University of Malaga reinforces its strategic position as a benchmark in technology, and puts itself at the forefront of the Technological Park of this province, one of the most leading in Europe, where digital advances are being cooked up that will introduce truly disruptive changes.

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