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Old vulnerabilities could majorly impact 5G security

(Image credit: Image Credit: Uverse internet)

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 (opens in new tab) 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 (opens in new tab) 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.”

Sead Fadilpašić is a freelance tech writer and journalist with more than 17 years experience writing technology-focussed news, blogs, whitepapers, reviews, and ebooks. And his work has featured in online media outlets from all over the world, including Al Jazeera Balkans (where he was a Multimedia Journalist), Crypto News, TechRadar Pro, and IT Pro Portal, where he has written news and features for over five years. Sead's experience also includes writing for inbound marketing, where he creates technology-based content for clients from London to Singapore. Sead is a HubSpot-certified content creator.