How 5G Network Would Change the IoT and the Challenges Ahead
Extremely fast and effective, 5G mobile networks
would increase the exposure to attacks as every internet of things (IoT) when connected fifth-generation technology can potentially become a tempting target for attackers and cybercriminals.
The efficiency would allow for improved interconnectivity and greater control over devices and machines ranging from automobiles to traffic lights and everything in between which have internet-connected sensors embedded in it. The number of such items is reported to rise from 14.2bn to 25bn by 2021, according to global research and advisory firm, Gartner.
Major home appliance company, Whirlpool is all set to have one its factories run on 5G technology. The factory puts to use a lot of metal and as 5G penetrate through walls and doesn’t reflect off metal as Wi-Fi does, Douglas Barnes, Whirlpool’s North American regional, says, “This will allow us to go to truly autonomous vehicles throughout the entire plant, for maintenance, for delivery, for everything that supports the manufacturing operations. That business case carries so much weight and so much in cost savings. The payback for 5G is very favorable.”
With encryption of data that will become more secure than ever, 5G technology will massively change the way users communicate over the internet, browse, watch videos and play games. However, the increased speed and effectiveness, low latency, high Gbps data transfer rates, and greater capacity also accompany more security challenges as compared to the current mobile networks. It would mean that threat actors while breaching a machine running on a 5G network, will be able to download and hence steal the data much faster than the current networks allow. It would also make it easier for criminals to execute bigger cyber attacks by utilizing the increased engagement of software required to smoothly run 5G technology.
Did hackers exploit IoT before?
Earlier in 2016, in the “Mirai botnet” cyber attack, where hackers took advantage of vulnerable IoT devices to take down major websites including Reddit, Twitter, Spotify and left much of the internet inaccessible. The incident witnessed the involvement of a large number of routers, cameras, and video recorders to take down a large chunk of the internet for the Eastern coast.
Commenting on the matter, Cesar Cerrudo, chief technology officer at IOActive, a cybersecurity consultancy, said, “I think 5G will be a more tempting target for nation-state actors than . . . hackers, as 5G will be a core communication technology for most countries,”