5G networks are very much at risk from a range of older vulnerabilities, despite popular opinion stating otherwise. This is according to Positive Technologies, a global telecoms security company which just released a new report titled 5G signaling networks: blast from the past.
The report says the idea that 5G will not be affected by existing security vulnerabilities in mobile networks is a “misconception”, especially as vulnerabilities in telecom protocols SS7 and Diameter can affect 5G and IoT as an industry.
According to Dimitry Kurbatov, Positive Technologies’ CEO, the key argument here is that 5G will interwork with other mobile networks, and that means risk.
”Because of this reliance on legacy infrastructure, hackers can perform cross-protocol attacks by exploiting vulnerabilities in multiple protocols as part of a single attack. For example, an attack on a 5G network can begin with exploitation of vulnerabilities in 3G to obtain subscriber identifiers. That is why protecting previous generations of networks is essential for 5G security,” he argues.
Inherited threats aside, 5G will be bringing its own set of risks into the mix. The report claims that with the expansion of 5G, people will no longer be the main consumers of communication services, but rather IoT devices.
“The biggest security threat to IoT devices is denial of service,” explained Kurbatov. “The results of our real-world testing are alarming: across all networks, whether 2G, 3G, 4G, or even 5G, attackers can deprive subscribers of service. Smart home components or industrial equipment could be made unavailable at a critical moment. As 5G mobile technologies and IoT devices evolve, so does the threat landscape. Now even connected cars or smart city systems could be targeted by hackers.”