5G is the fifth generation of mobile networks. It’s bringing a new internet era after its predecessors: 1G, 2G, and 4G. 5G enables numerous devices and networks to connect at a large scale, which was impracticable earlier with former generations.
The internet of things can also expand to its true potential with the assistance of 5G. Smart cities are now possible with this revolutionary technology. There are various other reasons why 5G is superior to different generations.
Why is 5G Better Than 4G?
Several cellular organizations contributed and made great efforts to develop a 5G network with substantial advancements from the 4G network. 5G is built on a wireless networking technology which enables it to be:
- Better Network Distribution: With Network slicing, 5G makes it easier to split networks to tailor the speed and coverage.
- Faster: 4G LTE’s maximum speed is 1GB/s, whereas 5G can hit as high as 20 GB/s.
- Low latency: 5G latency can reach around ten milliseconds, much lesser than 4G’s 30 milliseconds average latency.
- High Frequency: 5G can operate on a frequency within 30 GHz to 300 GHz. That’s a thousand times faster than 4G, which can only handle a maximum of 6 GHz.
5G Cyber Security Threats
Though 5G brings many improvements, it still has vulnerabilities and cybersecurity issues. Some are already highlighted, and some will come in the future once 5G is properly adopted:
Distributed Denial-of-Service (DDoS) Attacks:
DDoS attacks are the most common and most significant threat to the internet and networking. Threat actors and hackers attempt this attack by sending high volumes of traffic to a specific network or website to exceed its capacity.
The threat actor uses already compromised systems to generate massive traffic, and in the last few years, multiple IOT devices were also compromised to make such attacks. For example, in 2016, several compromised IOT devices called Mirai botnet were used to carry out a DDoS attack on ISP servers.
5G advancements in networks will help DDoS attacks to spread quicker and more efficiently. As more devices connect to the internet, attempting a DDoS attack will be much easier. Also, the attackers can easily exploit even more IoT devices to attempt more attacks.
The impact of a DDoS attack will be more significant as well. Once 5G is adopted worldwide, multiple government networks and smart cities operating on the internet will raise the risk of DDoS attempts as the downtime will affect the physical environment. The impact of these attacks can be mitigated through the use of VPNs and CDNs.
Vulnerabilities From Inheritance
Since 5G is still in its early stage, cellular providers plan to use LTE networks for 5G, which will transfer the 4G and LTE network vulnerabilities to 5G networks. It also means that 5G will still rely on GTP protocols, allowing data packets to transfer between wireless networks.
The GPRS tunneling protocol has multiple security vulnerabilities that will remain with 5G as long as it’s dependent on GPT protocols.
Accessible To Target Small Cells
The fifth-generation network has less coverage capability. Therefore, 5G technology uses small physical cells to increase the coverage. An increase in the number of network points will create more vulnerabilities and will strengthen cyberattacks’ potential.
Less Secure Software Based Networks
Unlike 4G and 3G, 5G networks are software-based instead of physical. In the early stages, these networks are being managed by AI, which could make networks more exposed as well as challenging to examine for security checks.
While 5G comes with loads of advantages and enhancements, it has cons too. As we have seen earlier, any new advancement in the internet or technology raises a new challenge for cybersecurity. 5G networks are enormous in scale, and it will take time and effort to secure them.