Why Does 5G Require New Approaches To Cybersecurity?

secure stay 5 g

What is 5G? 

5G is the “Fifth Generation” mobile network, the latest global wireless standard. It will eventually replace or at least augment the 4G LTE existing connection standard.

With 5G, you’ll be able to experience exponentially faster download and upload speeds, and the time it will take for devices to communicate with wireless networks (Latency) will drastically decrease.
It is designed to connect everything and everyone at higher data transfer speeds:

Why 5G?

First and foremost, the speed is the most attractive perk of this new generation network!
5G should reach a speed of 10 gigabits per second, which means 20 times faster than 4G.

The second reason is latency:  by shortening the “lag time” between device communications, the possibility of performing remote live actions such as remote surgery, or coordinating the communication between self-driving cars,  are now something that can be seriously considered.

The third reason would be connectivity. While the existing Network 4G LTE is powerful, we are quickly outgrowing this network by overloading it and pushing it to its limits. Current LTE networks are becoming overloaded at peak hours in major cities; 5G could support 100 times more devices per square mile versus 4G, and with the rise of internet-connected “smart” gadgets, such as IoT (Internet of Things) there is a  need for a faster and higher-capacity system to support the billions of devices already in use and the many more to come. 

mMTC (Massive Machine-Type Communications) is a brand new service category of 5G that can support an extremely high connection density of online devices.Currently, IoT is communicating through sensors; those sensors require a lot of resources and are quickly depleting the existing 4G LTE data capacity.
Compared to current smart devices on the market, mMTC devices will require fewer resources, since a huge number of these devices will be able to connect to a single base station, making them much more efficient by using the speed and the low latency of the 5G network.

5G vs 4G

  • 5G transmits tons of data over shorter distances than 4G LTE.
    This helps speed and consistency of connection signals, and the network itself — even when in motion. 
  • The 5G network is also able to support more devices due to the use of new signal spectrums. 

On top of all of this, energy-efficient tech allows less power to be used.

4G5GImpact
Deployment2006-2010>2020
Bandwidth200mbps>1gbps5G gives strong, fast service more reliably than 4G due to better use of bandwidth and more connection points. With less stress on the network, data costs can fall lower than 4G networks.
Latency- milliseconds 20-30>105G is more responsive than 4G with lower latency, which refers to the time taken for device-to-network communications. Since devices can “talk” to the network faster, you’ll get data faster.
Average Speed25mbps200-400mbps5G is faster than 4G with more bits-per-second able to travel the network. With the new upload and download speeds, you could be downloading movies in seconds versus minutes.
TechnologyLTEDeveloping5G uses less power than 4G since it can rapidly switch to low-energy use when cellular radios are not in use. This extends the device battery life to let devices stay unplugged for longer.
FeaturesIncredibly fast download speeds paved the way for HD Streaming.Ultra-fast internet, low-latencyand improved reliability.5G can carry more devices than 4G as it expands the available radio waves. Congestion issues that lead to slow service will be reduced once 5G steps in.

That being said, there is one major downside to the 5G, which is keeping 4G from being fully replaced right now:

5G is hard to install and deploy. There is a need for more transmitters to cover the same area as current 4G networks.
Placement sites for some of these “cells” are very challenging for cellular companies to come up with. This delay in coverage might seem negative for the future of 5G, but it gives a window of time for providers to address another big concern: security.

5G and Cybersecurity

The upcoming upgrade from 4G to 5G should concern quite anyone using a cellular connection. 

5G cybersecurity needs to undergo some meaningful improvements to avoid the growing risks of hacking. 

While some of the security worries are about the network itself, others concern the devices connecting to the network. 

Both aspects put consumers, businesses, and governments at risk.

Here are a few of the main concerns:

Traffic routing points.

Pre-5G networks had less hardware traffic points-of-contact, which made security checks and maintenance easier.
To be completely secure, all the Traffic routing points need to be closely monitored, as any unsecured areas might allow the threat to spread to other parts of the vulnerable network.

More bandwidth will overload current security monitoring. 

Current networks are limited in speed and capacity, this has facilitated the monitoring of network security in real-time, but with the expansion to the 5G network, the added speed and volume will challenge security teams to create new methods for stopping threats and it might ultimately hurt the security protocols in place.

Dependability on IoT devices manufactured with a lack of security.

With many low-end smart devices available on the market, originating from manufacturers with low concern about cybersecurity, the use of 5G will encourage the connection of more devices between them and ultimately through its network. Each unsecured device translates to possible breach points. Every portable speaker, Smartwatch, smart lights, smart locks, and thermostats, and even minor devices like a fish tank thermometer can be a network vulnerable breaching point.
A lack of control and security standards over IoT devices implies infinite potential network breaches and hacking.

Some of the known cyber-threats due to Cybersecurity vulnerabilities include:

  • Phishing attacks
  • Ransomware
  • Distributed denial-of-service (DDoS)
  • Remote hacking through third-party vendors/point of sale malware
  • Botnet attacks 
  • Man-in-the-Middle (MiTM) attacks 
  • Location tracking and call interception 

The Future of 5G and Cybersecurity

Technology developers will have to invest many resources in 5G security.

Focus on networks first.
Network providers will have to invest in software protections and will need to collaborate with cybersecurity firms to develop solutions for encryption and network monitoring to cover the unique risks of 5G.

Manufacturers need to invest in their security efforts.
The high costs of developing and implementing secure tech don’t motivate low-end product manufacturers to focus on cybersecurity.
Many IoT devices used by the population have been bought prioritizing the use above the tech, not understanding that the potential breach originating from those unsafe devices, could cost them a thousand times the saving made on the purchase of the device; and if used in a public place such as a hotel in our case, this could also affect other guests or the organization’s network as a whole.


Consumer education.
Product labeling standards will be a necessity. Because users have no intuitive way to know how safe IoT devices are, smart tech manufacturers might start to be held accountable with a label system. 

The FCC grades other forms of radio transmission, so the growing market of IoT devices may soon be included as well.
Last, users need to be educated and warned about the importance of securing all internet devices with software updates.

How You Should Prepare for 5G

It is never too early to prepare by taking the security and privacy of your system network into your own hands as much as possible:

  • Install antivirus solutions on all your devices. 
  • Use a VPN 
  • Practice strong password security
    • Use Two-Factor Authentication (2FA)
    • Password Management Vaults

Focus on protecting yourself from breaches originating from IoT

  • Update the default backend passwords on all your IoT devices. 
  • Create a separate network on your router for guests as well as all the facility’s IoT devices 
  • Keep all your IoT devices updated with security applications.
    This includes your mobile phone, computers, all smart devices, and even your car’s infotainment system. Remember, any device that connects to the internet, Bluetooth, or other data radio should have all the latest updates (apps, firmware, OS, etc.)
  • Turn off Universal Plug and Play (UPnP)
  • Set a clear Bring your own device (BYOD) policy for your employees

We’ll teach you how to repel cyberattacks.