For the past few years, everyone from consumers who use mobile devices and telecommunications companies to IT teams and public figures have discussed 5G and how great it will be for connectivity and the Internet of Things (IoT). There have been many articles concerning the benefits of 5G, but what about the potential detrimental impacts of 5G and how it could impact cybersecurity?

The enterprise IT and technology experts at IntraLAN examine what impacts you could expect when implementing 5G services for your business.

What is 5G?

Everyone’s heard of 5G, but what exactly is it? The next generation in mobile broadband, 5G, is designed to take device connectivity to the next level. Qualcomm defines 5G as: 

“…a unified, more capable air interface. It has been designed with an extended capacity to enable next-generation user experiences, empower new deployment models and deliver new services.

“With high speeds, superior reliability and negligible latency, 5G will expand the mobile ecosystem into new realms.”

Better connectivity topped the list of many long before the COVID-19 pandemic forced businesses to operate remotely. With many global companies continuing to work remotely, 5G is the way forward for cohesive teamwork among distributed workforces. It will unlock the ability to operate productively anywhere at any time without pesky connection issues.

How can 5G impact cybersecurity?

Inevitably, any time new technology is introduced into the world so are security risks. 5G has been available for a while now, and here are the most common cybersecurity concerns businesses have since adopting the technology: 

  1. Higher instances of hacking

Hackers access networks via unsecured ports. With 5G connectivity, the number of traffic routing points is significantly higher than older mobile connectivity spectrums. This provides more opportunity for hackers to gain access when users log  onto unsecured networks, potentially the most significant risk to your organisation’s cybersecurity efforts. 

Additionally, 5G makes standard cybersecurity measures less effective – and these will need to be readdressed if you want to ensure full protection of your business.

  • Protection via portioning is made redundant

With current cybersecurity methods, infected nodes on a 4G network will typically be quarantined to ensure the stability and security of the rest of the system. What makes 5G so different is that this is no longer viable.

Unlike 4G, 5G uses a vast network of small cell antennas. These antennas work as a single point of control, and should one be overloaded via a Denial of Service (DDoS) attack, it can bring down a significant portion of a network. 

Additional risks come from the spectrum sharing nature of 5G and how its data packets are transmitted, though using artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning solutions as part of your cybersecurity mesh can help mitigate this risk. 

  • Extinction of current IoT security standards

Business has changed and become a network of on-site and remote devices. Unfortunately, laptops, mobile phones and tablets are typically manufactured without even the basic cybersecurity measures. Even before the implementation of 5G, hackers were using unsecured remote devices to attack organisations. 5G has intensified those attacks by providing a more reliable vehicle for hackers to use for initiating cyber-attacks.

How can your business prepare for 5G? 

Don’t just jump in headfirst by purchasing 5G-ready devices without first implementing security measures to protect your business. Here are a few steps you can take to ensure you’re ready to take your business’s connection speeds to the next level, securely:

  • Invest in 5G-focused cybersecurity infrastructure – ensuring your cyber security measures are ready for any possible issues when adding 5G connected devices is key to long-term business security.
  • Educate your teams about 5G – educating teams about new security threats that 5G produces isn’t the only thing you should inform people about. Employees at every level of your business should understand what 5G is and what benefits it can offer your company as well as the risks.
  • Plan around 5G and its benefits – plan for the influx of innovation that 5G can bring, including automation, artificial intelligence and machine learning. Ensure your business has a solid 5G strategy to ensure a seamless transition to the new data network. 

How can IntraLAN help?

The team at IntraLAN takes cybersecurity seriously. Protect your workforce and data from increasingly sophisticated threats, prevent unforeseen costs and mitigate any issues when adopting 5G connected devices by partnering with a managed service provider you can trust. IntraLAN’s comprehensive cybersecurity detection, protection and response capability provides IT security best practices, advanced products and services and multiple security controls to mitigate risk. 

Contact our team to learn more about how we can help protect your business against 5G security risks.