5G Will Require AI-Enabled Cybersecurity to Deal with New Threats

South Korea has announced the world’s first 5G network, with speeds 20 to 100 times faster than 4G. Alongside the anticipated rollout of 5G in other countries, which will bring a boost in users of higher-capacity wireless devices, are security concerns.

Many organizations will have to change or rebuild their cybersecurity strategies to manage the new platform, suggests an account from Malwarebytes Labs.

The account identifies ways the rise of 5G can affect an organization’s cybersecurity. For instance:

New Dangers Will Arise

By way of comparison, the Mirai botnet in 2016 executed a denial-of-service (DDoS) attack that brought down the majority of the internet on the east coast. The attack spread through thousands of insecure IoT devices, including security cameras. The creator of Mirai had proposed to bring down rival Minecraft servers, so as to make more money. The impact on the overall internet was an unintended consequence. When 5G networks roll out, devices will be powered on and connected from a variety of mediums, increasing risk.

With Increased Bandwidth Comes New Threat Opportunities

Many of today’s security services monitor traffic in real-time to identify threats based on activity and sniffed data. For instance, if someone in-house is visiting a flagged URL, it could be an insider threat. Because network capacity, security, and traffic can be managed today. With 5G speeds and capacity, that may no longer be the situation. It may be the case that many of today’s cybersecurity solution may no longer work in the 5G network.

Requirement of Security Automation

Security automation and integration is when the security architecture and system being used is connected across the operation. Data must match up between security layers. Attackers are probably going to use physical means and digital means to attack, and move between the two. They are probably going to use a combination of strategies and attacks to gain unauthorized access. This has been shown by Emotet’s polymorphic, multiple module attacks or CrySIS ransomware’s versatile attack vectors.

5G Network Security Complexities Will Make AI Required

AI will be required to secure 5G networks, suggests an account from threatpost. That was an assessment from the GSMA Mobile 360 Security for 5G conference held in May in the Netherlands.

The authors set the stage by noting that the current telecom systems are built from a hardware-centric perspective, using the vertical-stack Open Systems Interconnection (OSI) model. This includes a heavy reliance on hardware big routers and switches with device-specific software. Functions are hard-coded. Extensive support systems are needed to carry out management and orchestration functions.

Interestingly, 5G takes a page from the world of enterprise IT and the cloud, as indicated by Brian Wagner, head of security, risk, and compliance for EMEA at Amazon Web Services. “Security is no longer a silo that sits in a separate area,” he stated, during a keynote at the conference. “Security isn’t compliance anymore, and the other way around. These networks will comprise of largely commoditized technology. In this way, you need to upgrade your tools, adopt a risk-based approach and be straightforward.”

In a 5G network, hardware servers are abstracted from the software; all functions are virtual; a packet core network is software-defined and programmable, ready to make changes to services on demand. Hence, 5G network will be capable of supporting literally billions of endpoints generating data, all with possibly custom network services.

Achieving visibility into this very different and more complex environment is something network managers have not had to do previously.

AI will be required for intelligent, adaptive security management and automation, the speakers proposed. The technical change to a software approach and dynamic refreshing will be a challenge. The AI algorithms will need to be trained with a tremendous volume of security information, suggested Martin Borrett, CTO and specialist at IBM Security, who has been working with the organization’s AI platform, Watson.


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