Cybersecurity

5 Must-Know Facts about the Security of 5G Networks and the Benefits of the Cloud

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5G Network Security

5G is a game changer for mobile connectivity, including mobile connectivity to the cloud. This technology provides high speed and low latency when connecting smartphones and IoT devices to cloud infrastructure. 5G network is an important part of all infrastructure layers between end users and end services; these networks transmit sensitive data that is important to governments and businesses, not to mention individuals. As a result, 5G networks are a prime target for attackers. Therefore, cybersecurity is a key consideration in developing 5G standards.

5G includes robust security features that ensure the confidentiality, integrity and availability of network services and user data. In this article, Seva Vayner, Product Owner of Gcore Edge Cloud Service, provides an in-depth look at five of 5G’s cutting-edge security measures. He also investigates the critical performance capabilities of 5G, along with use cases that demonstrate how contemporary cloud-native enterprises can leverage this transformative technology to their advantage.

What is 5G

5G is a new wireless network standard that replaces 4G (LTE). It is designed to connect people and devices at fast speeds with low latency.

5G throughput far exceeds 4G throughput. In theory, 5G offers up to 20 Gbps downlink. In comparison, 4G only offers up to 100 Mbps, which is 200 times less than 5G. According to CELLSMART Survey 2023in practice, outdoor testing shows that 5G carriers in the US and EU provide close to 1 Gbps for downlink channels.

For 5G latency, it’s up to 10 ms (vs. 30 ms on 4G)—but only in a test environment. In reality, latency depends on many factors. For example, Ericsson test in the US shows that 5G latency is typically around 20 ms but no more than 50 ms, which is nearly imperceptible to humans. This is good news for gaming, where latency higher than 50ms is critical.

5 Must-Know 5G Security Features

Important 5G security methods and technologies include encryption, privacy protection, authentication and authorization, network truncation, and network equipment security guarantees. Let’s take a closer look.

1. Encryption

Encryption protects user data and network traffic from eavesdropping, tapping, and tampering. 5G use strong encryption algorithm such as AES, ZUC, SNOW 3G, and HMAC-SHA-256. The encryption feature includes the separation of security keys between core network segments. Also offered is quick synchronization of security contexts across the access network (base station) and core network.

2. Privacy Protection

In 5G networks, privacy protection is ensured through the use of encryption and various other techniques. This strategy effectively protects against significant threats such as IMSI/TMSI-catcher, which attackers typically use to identify and track network subscribers. Mobile operators can implement the Elliptic Curve Unified Encryption Scheme mechanism to hide and periodically update subscriber temporary identifiers (TMSI). In addition, operators can detect counterfeit base stations, which are often the source of IMSI/TMSI capture.

3. Authentication and Authorization

Authentication and authorization in 5G are based on the Authentication and Key Agreement (5G AKA) method. It includes a strong authentication mechanism to verify the identity of users, devices and network elements. Unlike 4G, 5G does not require a physical SIM card for credentials, but does support pre-shared keys, certificates and tokens as well. Mobile carriers can choose the authentication credentials and authentication methods that work best for their customers and IoT devices. For example, traditional SIM cards are suitable for mobile phones, while digital credentials are more suitable for simple IoT devices equipped with eSIM.

4. Network Cutting

Network slicing allows the creation of virtual networks for various services and applications. For example, a customer company could use one network slice for high-priority employees with access to corporate services, and another for low-priority warehouse IoT sensors sending data to storage in the public cloud. Each network slice can be assigned specific security policies and protocols, helping to isolate and protect data and services.

5. THIS

NESAS, or the Network Equipment Security Assurance Scheme, ensures the safe implementation of the telecommunications equipment that mobile operators use on their networks, including 5G. Developed by 3GPP And GSMA, NESAS defines security requirements and rules for a successful infrastructure audit. NESAS takes local and global cybersecurity regulations into account, for example, the EU cybersecurity certification framework. Mobile vendors and carriers are required to comply with NESAS requirements.

How 5G Benefits Cloud-Native Enterprises

With low latency, higher bandwidth and extensive security measures, 5G strengthens the security of cloud connectivity. These updates enable the secure and reliable transmission of sensitive information and real-time processing of data. 5G enables organizations to confidently use cloud services to store and manage their data, reducing the risk of a data breach.

5G offers superior fault tolerance when compared to wired connections, mainly due to the inherent robustness of wireless channels in reducing communication failures. With cables connecting offices or factories to providers, it may be necessary to establish a backup connection via optical fiber or radio. But 5G has dedicated channels from the start. If one base station fails, the other will take over automatically, making any downtime impossible.

In addition, 5G’s network cutting capabilities provide enterprises with a dedicated virtual network in their IT systems. This allows for better isolation and separation of data, applications, and services, increasing overall security. Companies can create customized network slices for specific tasks or specific departments. This feature ensures that important data and applications are kept separate and protected.

Where 5G Can Use Along with the Cloud

Health. Doctors can use tools such as AI cloud platforms to remotely monitor patient health data in real time while still using their phones via 5G. After a medical examination, high-resolution images of medical devices can be uploaded to the Cloud AI platform, processed and returned to the doctor for further use. 5G helps too ML diagnostic: cloud ML applications can receive images or other medical data via 5G for disease prediction, detection, and classification.

Secure access to company tools. With 5G data protection, access control management is enabled for each SIM card. Authorized employees can securely access company digital assets, data, and applications while working remotely without the need for a VPN or firewall.

Flow. With 5G and cloud services like CDN, streamers, bloggers and podcasters can enjoy uninterrupted live video streaming and high-quality audio. 5G facilitates the blending of interactive elements in live video streaming while instant video analytics generates real-time metrics that enrich the overall live event experience.

Smart factory. Manufacturers can predict maintenance needs and detect potential problems or failures by monitoring equipment data with IoT devices. They can use ML cloud services for analytics, while 5G provides a secure and fast connection to their cloud infrastructure.

Automotive IoT. Because of their performance capabilities, 5G networks are the industry’s leading means of data transmission. In the self-driving vehicle industry, data from vehicle sensors and cameras can easily be sent to the cloud at high speed, and then processed by cloud AI tools.

Gcore 5G eSIM platform

That 5G eSIM platforms from global cloud and CDN provider Gcore provides a strong example of 5G and collaborative cloud solutions. The 5G eSIM platform offers access to IaaS, PaaS, AI infrastructure, streaming platforms and other Gcore services over 5G. Gcore customers can securely connect to their cloud infrastructure through direct private channels from more than 150 countries around the world. 5G eSIM ensures secure data transmission through advanced encryption algorithms and security protocols.

Here is the platform architecture:

Architecture of the Gcore 5G eSIM Platform, showing the connection between the mobile network, the subscriber's private area, and the public area
Figure 1. Gcore 5G eSIM Platform Architecture

In addition to the 5G security features integrated into the standard, the 5G eSIM platform provides:

  • Control traffic consumption to configure whitelist and blacklist. It allows or denies certain protocols, URLs and IPs.
  • Workgroup management to assign employee names to eSIMs and group them by function, seniority, or department.
  • Detailed reporting system to view reports by group, period, eSIM, country and more.
  • personal eSIM for each employee to give them the company mobile number. Employees can access the internet and internal resources from remote locations without the need for a company VPN and without roaming fees.
  • Secure individual routing and traffic filtering to ensure protection against cyberattacks and data leaks.
The Gcore 5G eSIM control panel offers a lot of features and options
Figure 2. Gcore 5G eSIM control panel

Additionally, Gcore provides functionality within its Cloud to secure all customer service:

  • Identity and access management
  • Firewall with flexible security group configuration
  • Secret management
  • IaaS protection

Customers can combine these cloud features with the benefits and features offered by the 5G eSIM platform.

Conclusion

5G has excellent performance capabilities and advanced security features like encryption, network truncation, and AKA 5G. 5G networks are more robust and flexible than LAN and WLAN networks; this makes 5G more effective in terms of technological advances, business interests, and compliance with security requirements. As a result, 5G networks help businesses grow faster without compromising the level of infrastructure protection.


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