Why 5G Needs a Future-Proof Approach with Cloud-Based Cybersecurity
Of all of the current trends in the emerging technology space, Fifth Generation, or 5G, networks are among the most talked about and those deemed to be the most impactful. With the rollout of 5G networks also comes the ability for connected devices and the larger IoT to continue to grow, as new technology will be developed to match the increased speed, latency, and other benefits associated with the inclusion of 5G.
Unlike upgrades of wireless networks in the past, 5G will deliver faster phone and computer data and will also help connect cars, appliances, cargo, and crop equipment. 5G’s faster speeds, vast data capacity, and lower latency are expected to underpin entirely new technologies, such as self-driving cars and telemedicine. According to a survey from Ericsson, “92% of executives from 100 major telecom operators, globally, agree that 5G will pave the way for new emerging technologies.” In fact, the mobile/telecom operators (or telcos) who are installing 5G networks are also among the industry verticals that will have new business opportunities presented to them by the onset of 5G.
As 5G becomes more widely distributed and there is greater and greater connectivity happening between devices, the issue of device and network security becomes a more complex ordeal. More connected devices mean the ability for streamlined systems, faster operational tasks, and other benefits for enterprises – but it also means increased vulnerability and network exposure. For telcos, this threat can impact their bottom line. If networks providers are tasked with the responsibility of ensuring security, there is a great deal of risk associated with vulnerabilities that can be found through holes in security in both the software and hardware, as well as at the network level.
This year, the Global Mobile Suppliers Association (GMSA) released a statement warning of this exact possibility, with its president saying, “5G is not just about faster speeds, it’s also about an order of magnitude increase in the number of connected devices and potential applications.,” This demonstrates the direct correlation between connectivity and the need for heightened cybersecurity measures in 5G. Mobile operators need to look for protection approaches for their connected systems today, and, in order to dominate the connected IoT market, they need to be able to create secure channels to the IoT devices and have the capability to manage and monitor these devices.
Service providers often rely on the device OS or processor to deliver security, but that leaves the firmware and network exposed. A router is one IoT device that often relies on such security, but recent vulnerabilities (such as the TP-Link smart home router Zero-Day bug and Cisco router bug) have proven that there is an increased need for telcos and service providers to train their eyes on new security solutions. The Zero-Day bug, for example, uncovered that an attacker would be able to execute arbitrary commands on a device, allowing them to remotely gain access to the device’s firmware and manipulate it, while also gaining network access. If both the devices and the networks on which they sit are compromised, there could be irreparable damage to consumers’ trust in their service providers, as well as damage to the businesses’ bottom line.
A new approach to router and IoT device cybersecurity includes changing the root of trust to the flash and creating a secure channel between the flash in the end device to the management system in the cloud, so that even if the software or processor is compromised, the system remains secure. One innovative approach is to provide security and protection via a device’s flash or memory, providing updates and management securely from the cloud—instead of relying on device-level software or hardware fixes.
Providing a unique approach to protecting and managing IoT devices and networks, NanoLock Security brings telecom and mobile operators the industry’s only cloud-to-flash solution that solves this challenge. NanoLock offers device-to-cloud integrity and persistent protection that blocks access to firmware, boot image, and critical code—even if the network and processor are hacked—while ensuring only trusted firmware-over-the-air (FOTA) updates. Furthermore, NanoLock provides real-time attack prevention with as-they-happen alerts and status updates, as well as big data analysis to identify critical patterns and anomalies — a crucial need for telcos and service providers looking to manage large-scale networks and devices.
Leveraging NanoLock’s powerful protection and unique OPEX-based cost structure, telcos can now expand their offerings to businesses through a protection-as-a-service model which offers customers a huge reduction in cyber spending by preventing cyberattack-related downtime and associated costs, in addition to cutting physical access needs through reliable remote access and control.
Mobile operators need to find new ways to protect the devices that will sit on 5G networks today in order to ensure a smooth implementation as 5G is more broadly installed. A cloud-to-flash solution like NanoLock’s provides mobile operators a future-proof way to manage the billions of IoT devices that are set to come online via a 5G network now and in the future.