featured image 106 5 tips to keep your 5G network secure

5G is the latest generation of mobile-wireless tech; it can offer faster speeds and lower latency.

To keep your enterprise 5G network secure, start by choosing a reputable provider.

Keep all devices up to date, thoroughly train staff, and use eSIMs to maintain security.

This article is part of “5G Playbook,” a series exploring one of our time’s most important tech innovations.

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More than 1 billion subscriptions to 5G mobile connections are active worldwide — but that’s just the start. Ericsson forecasts that number will rise to 4.6 billion by 2028, accounting for more than half of all mobile subscriptions.

To meet that demand, about 240 service providers have launched commercial networks. About 35 have deployed or launched stand-alone 5G networks.

Whether you use those providers for your enterprise 5G network or build your own private 5G network, it’s important to keep things secure. Here, experts offer advice on how to do just that.

1. Keep an eye on location

Network security isn’t just about ensuring that attackers can’t get into your network. It’s also about ensuring it remains online, all the time — particularly vital given the integral role 5G may have in many core parts of our lives in the years to come.

This is why identifying the location of your network inputs is key.

“Coverage can vary depending on where you are, and it is improving day by day,” Sandeep Raithatha, the head of strategy, innovation, and 5G Internet of Things at Virgin Media O2, said. “Ensure key locations have access to reliable 5G connectivity. If you need more control and reliability for mission-critical operations, like ensuring safety on work sites or supporting medical teams during operations, consider a mobile private network dedicated for your business and isolated from the public network.”

2. Pick your provider wisely

While many of the 5G standards are defined by the GSMA, the industry body that sets standards for communication, there are elements of 5G connections that can be proprietary, Alan Woodward, a cybersecurity professor at the University of Surrey in the UK, said. “Consequently you can get locked into different vendors,” he added.

To ensure continuity of service and, with it, security of communications, you should carefully consider who will provide your infrastructure — and stick with that as long as possible. Likewise, some network providers have been criticized for links to hostile states around the world, which may give some businesses pause when entrusting those companies with their enterprise security.

“Top of the list of the 5G threat landscape is eavesdropping, interception, and hijacking calls,” Woodward said.

3. Take advantage of eSIM functionality

5G connectivity has adopted many state-of-the-art technologies, including eSIMs, or electronic versions of the traditional SIM card.

“Try to adopt eSIMs instead of physical SIMs wherever possible,” Parm Sandhu, the vice president of enterprise 5G products and services at NTT Ltd., said.

eSIMs lay the groundwork for a more extensive IoT ecosystem. 5G is about connecting not just people but also an endless array of devices — from smart refrigerators to traffic lights. eSIMs allow for seamless integration of cellular connectivity into these devices, many of which may not be conveniently accessible for manual SIM swaps, Sandhu told Business Insider.

“eSIMs are inherently more secure, especially from a physical point of view,” Sandhu said.

That’s because they can’t be stolen like physical devices. eSIMs, embedded and encrypted within the device, offer a fortress for your digital identity, aligning with 5G’s advanced security protocols to provide a defense against identity theft and fraud.

4. Update regularly, and use multifactor authentication

It’s one thing to build your 5G network securely — it’s another challenge to keep it safe. Alan Jones, a marketing manager at D-Link in the UK and Ireland, suggested ensuring that things are kept up to date to maintain security.

“Ensure all devices connected to the 5G network are regularly updated to patch known vulnerabilities,” he said.

Beyond that, strong authentication is a vital part of maintaining your network’s safety.

“Implement multifactor authentication for accessing the network,” he added. Anything less runs the risk of being broken into by hackers.

5. Educate staff on using the network properly

One of the biggest vulnerabilities of any technology isn’t the coding that’s used to secure it. It isn’t even the strength of the passwords designed to limit access to it. It’s the fallibility of the humans who use it. From social engineering to mistaken identity, the likelihood of things going wrong is higher when factoring in humans.

For that reason, education should be a huge part of keeping your 5G network secure.

“Train your team from the start to understand the benefits but also the risks that come with a private 5G network,” Keith Brownsword, the founder and director at As.one, said. Without it, you risk someone saying or doing something that disrupts your network security.
Source and Read More: https://www.businessinsider.com/5g-network-security-tips-2023-11

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