Will 5G Technology Increase Mobile Security?

As the world and digital landscape around us continue to evolve and progress, the world's future seems to be one deeply rooted in connectivity. Despite how fictitious some of these undreamt technologies might seem, the requirement for high-speed internet connections extends to every aspect of our digitized lives. 

It is estimated that 5G technology brings speeds of around 10 gigabits per second to a mobile phone. By leveraging 5G technology, individuals will be able to download a 4K HD movie in some 25 seconds, along with the ability to stream several HD movies alongside each other. 

In addition to offering mind-bogglingly high speeds, 5G aids in fostering connectivity between devices and providing a robust internet connection to multiple devices and gadgets simultaneously. However, before implementing the 5G technology becomes rampant, it is crucial that end users seriously consider the security implications that 5G will have in the future. 

In an attempt to help Infosecurity readers come to terms with the security consequences that 5G will have, we've compiled an article that answers the frequently asked question: "Will 5G increase mobile security?'' So read along.

Is 5G More Secure Than 4G or 3G?

The short answer to whether 5G security is better than 3G or 4G is 'yes.' 5G technology still has its fair share of shortcomings, which often get overlooked amid the high-speed internet connection that 5G offers. 

Before getting into the shortcomings of 5G technology, here are some of the security wins for 5G, which consist of the following: 

Anti-tracking and Spoofing Features

The most significant security perk that 5G wireless network technology offers its users is that it contains several anti-tracking and spoofing specs that help thwart malicious actors from gaining access to confidential data. Furthermore, encrypting a much more significant amount of data than its predecessors, the 5G technology ensures that less information is up for grabs, preventing cyber-criminals from exploiting individual device connections. But since it is a new technology, it is still advisable to create strong passwords to prevent threat actors from breaking into devices. 

In addition to anti-tracking and spoofing, 5G also hosts an arsenal of other enhanced security features, including improved authentication and authorization and integrity protection mechanisms. As a result, it provides users with improved protection against hackers and their attempts to introduce rogue devices into the network. 

5G Is More Software and Cloud-Oriented

5G also allows for better monitoring, which paves the way to better detection of potential threats and vulnerabilities present within the system. Furthermore, since 5G technology is formulated by taking a more software and cloud-based approach, operators can engage in a phenomenon known as 'network slicing.'

From a more practical standpoint, the connection speed improvements offered by 5G enable companies to create better data-processing opportunities for themselves. Once a company utilizes the high speeds of 5G for their data processing, they can boost overall cybersecurity efficiency by promptly detecting and responding to security threats and vulnerabilities. 

Are There Any Security Shortcomings to 5G?

Despite how perfect the 5G tech might appear on paper, it still contains its fair share of security flaws. According to extensive research conducted by experts, several security weaknesses within 5G have been brought to the surface. 

Perhaps the most significant findings were that users could be traced while connected to 5G. This is because malicious actors can leverage unencrypted data that leaks during transmission due to a flaw in the standard. This dangerous phenomenon can give rise to fake base station attacks, which use devices known as 'stingrays' that exploit target devices by manipulating them to believe that the stingray is a cell tower. Once the target device connects to the stingray, hackers can easily intercept mobile traffic and spy on their victims.

Furthermore, it was revealed that certain flaws in 5G allow cyber-criminals to launch "downgrade" attacks. As the name itself suggests, a downgrade attack manipulates a target's phone connection and causes them to downgrade to either 4G or 3G services. Once the victim has downgraded to an older wireless network, cyber-criminals can easily leverage the security flaws of older attacks to launch attacks. 

The Bottom Line

As significant as the security features within 5G are, it is also equally important that network operators implement those features. Despite all the grooming that 5G undergoes, the security and privacy features will be wasted if the technology is not appropriately implemented.

Considering the gravity of the situation, data governing agencies must step in and take responsibility for enforcing the stringent and widespread implementation of 5G technology. 

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