November 22, 2019 – What We Shall Consider When It Comes to 5G Security and Privacy in Smart Cities

By Amin Hasbini, Kaspersky

The 5G telecommunications revolution is imminent. It is the next generation of cellular network using the existing 4G LTE in addition to opening up the millimeter wave band. 5G will be able to welcome more network-connected devices and increase speeds considerably for users. It will serve as the foundation for many futuristic technologies such as self-driving vehicles, remote and electronic healthcare services, energy efficiency systems, etc. Smart cities, intelligent power grids and defense facilities will be built based on all these new technologies.

However, the security concerns of 5G are inescapable. It is an evolving and developing technology built on top of the previous infrastructure, from which it will inevitably inherit vulnerabilities and misconfigurations. Large-scale DDoS attacks will likely be amplified; the massive increase in the volume of connected devices, with all the uncertainties about their quality and security in the network will be a challenging task for telco administrators. Furthermore, the communication trust model will not be identical to previous cellular generations. IoT and M2M devices are expected to occupy a greater portion of the network capacity. The interaction of all these devices in the 5G network will likely trigger unprecedented issues in product design and device behavior. In an environment plagued by such fears and the attendant political challenges, encouraging a zero-trust network model and strict product quality compliance would help build trust between the technology adopters and providers.

Government and industry leaders should join efforts to promote secure and safe 5G technology projects to enhance the services and quality of life for citizens of smart cities.