Fencing 5G’s Digital Borders

The transition from 1G in the 1980s to 2G in the early 1990s, 3G in mid-2001, 4G in 2010, and 5G in the 2020s has come a long way. Ever since 5G was introduced, the lives of millions of people and organisations have significantly changed in both ways – positively and negatively. 100 times faster than 4G, 5G creates endless and unprecedented opportunities for people and businesses. From faster connectivity to ultra-low latency and greater bandwidth, 5G is advancing society to a great extent. 5G will have a massive impact on the world as it will contribute $700 billion in value to the global economy by 2030, as per GSMA. 5G is empowering everything – from factory automation to remote control of assets. 5G is here to make a revolution in 21st-century businesses, especially in terms of cybersecurity

Data released by Statista on global 5G adoption shows that the use of 5G will skyrocket to more than two billion in 2024 and three billion in 2026. Presently, China has the most significant number of cities, where 5G is available in 341 cities, followed by the US with 279 cities and South Korea with 85 cities, as per the 5G Adoption & Analysis Data report by Statista. 

The robust use of 5G is unhidden. As businesses are waking up to the significant popularity and use of 5G, it is revealed that three in four companies expect to implement 5G within their businesses by 2025. Though advanced technology always facilitates business operations to a great extent, it is also crucial to consider the impact and challenges associated with the new technology. Adopting new technology without cybersecurity will put businesses at risk, and sailing the boat will be difficult for the organisation. 

Companies must understand the significance of cybersecurity and take necessary steps to curb vulnerabilities and mitigate issues associated with 5G technology. In the B2B landscape, the total revenue for 5G IoT modules will increase from about USD 180 million in 2022 to almost USD 10 billion by 2030, 

5G Risks 

With technological advancements come new threats and risks. Cyber threats need to be addressed before its widespread adoption. It is evident that the implementation of cybersecurity is a holistic, long-standing network; the factors that make it exciting and empowering also pose significant challenges associated with it, making it a top concern for everyone, not just cybersecurity professionals. 

Anil Ramcharan, a leader from the Cyber & Strategic Risk practice of Deloitte Risk & Financial Advisory, says, “Implementing 5G network security requires a risk management framework that adapts to the flexibility and programmability of network services and traffic flows in software-defined networks.” 

Risk management is highly important in 5G networks because of the kind of infrastructure it relies on. “5G networks are built with hardware and software and use the cloud, so it has a much larger attack surface,” says Wendy Frank, Ramcharan’s colleague. Plenty of hardware and software are required to build and run a private 5G network. It is a known fact that a device or application increases the possibility of a data breach, which may spread across the network, he added further. 

Threats To Mitigate 

With the increasing adoption of  5G technology, cybercriminals are seizing the opportunity to threaten businesses and people. As businesses are excited to experience the fast internet, cybercriminals will undoubtedly use the high speed of 5G networks to innovate and execute bigger network attacks and proliferate malware faster than ever before. 

Cyber threats are ingrained in the digital world tremendously. Getting rid of them entirely is not feasible, but taking some prerequisite steps will help companies mitigate cyber threats to a great extent. To tackle the ransomware attacks inherent in 5G networks, organisations must consistently monitor and manage all connected devices, keep every software updated, and regularly examine individual interfaces to ensure they’re safe. Adapting to new cybersecurity techniques and regulations, using a Virtual Private Network (VPN) while connecting to internet-connected devices, multi-factor authentication (MFA), strong passwords, implementing access control to restrict sensitive information, and more will help companies sail through the 5G cyber threats.

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