Is 5G our next big threat or at least the bridge it will ride in on?

Credit: ID 123961212 © Sdecoret |

All I keep seeing is articles and talks about 5G being rolled out around the world. Australia is pushing ahead to try and be one of the leaders in that market. I understand why, the preliminary tests of Australia on the Telstra network which has been rolled out in five cities and a test at their Sydney CBD office achieved a download speed of 1.216Gbps on a new Samsung Galaxy S10 5G phone. You can see results here from a few months back.

 Now these results are a little misleading as the network isn't being used at this time and you will not likely get those types of speeds in real-world scenarios but I would assume that at a minimum you could expect to have speeds of 2-3 times that of 4G. That would mean that you can expect to get easily similar speeds to the top tier service on NBN (100Mbps).

Australia is the third country to adopt the 5G technology which has had some controversy due to the ban of Huawei technology being used as part of the core systems. It may put some challenges forward for the NBN as it will be a very comparable speed but it will come down to what price point will be offered for data (currently listed at $80 for 100GB and $100 for 150GB Check them out here – still quite expensive but maybe a viable option). If 5G is available on great data plans it could be worth a look but it will have limited availability for quite some time until the rollout has been completed across more regions. I will be sticking to my NBN FTC connection for quite some time but this rollout will bring with it great opportunities.

IoT and Autonomous vehicles will need this network to be able to truly communicate in real-time with all of their different systems to ensure that up-to-date information is always available to all systems that need them. In autonomous vehicles, this could be used to know what traffic is like along its travel path and adapt its routes or even react to pending danger but none of this will truly be possible with a network that can handle the bandwidth pressures that it will bring with it. Look speed on 5G will be great and with self-piloted drones and those autonomous cars, we will have a very entertaining future, especially in security when we are tasked with protecting it all.

That is something that I haven’t seen discussed much which concerns me a little, 5G as I have already indicated is going to be quite fast and will likely improve over time as technology is developed, so we will see millions of IoT devices suddenly start to be rolled out onto our cities, homes, cars or almost everything but currently security is only an afterthought for these devices. I know there are some reasons for the slow introduction of security in IoT devices as I completed a research topic on this for my last unit of my master's degree. Some issues specifically are to do with the actual power and processing capability of these devices or lack of. They just can't run it with also doing the job they are made to do. These devices need to be built in the first instance with security in mind but this may need some technological advancements before it will be a true reality.

Don't get me wrong I think security on IoT needs to be a priority and believe that it needs to be a the forefront of all design concepts through to final products no matter the size or cost issues it brings with it. It's just something that needs to be done. If however security is not improved (or introduced in the first instance) then this awesome 5G network that will put us at the forefront will be the bridge that allows our systems to be attacked and controlled by malicious actors. Think about it, these devices will be connected to a fast network with basically no security and will likely sit inside our critical infrastructure, in our cars and our homes.

I think this is an issue that needs our attention and fast before it is too late and APT's or malicious actors have unrestricted access. These devices need to be monitored and encrypted to help reduce the ability for the data to be used against us, we need to develop the ability through new processes or systems to ensure that we can monitor them in real-time. If we can't it will be too late to do anything about it. With those speeds, any attacks could be completed quickly with minimal threat to the malicious actors being caught in the act.

What about the mesh type grids that will be relayed in real-time to some of the passenger drones so they know where each other is if you could manipulate that image the damage you could inflict. Large files could easily be transferred back and forth between attacker and victims with almost no chance of detection at this time. That's a really scary thought don't you think, currently we have minimal control on our networks (yes we all try to have total control but in reality we have known we don't have full control) and with speeds expected to go through the roof and millions of insecure devices being added we are going to lose control its inevitable so how do we fix it?

Honestly, I don't know how we can fix it not completely but I believe that we need to stop and go back to the beginning with implementing real security aligned IoT devices, stop the avalanche of insecure equipment. That’s a good first step, then maybe regulate the IoT industry (don’t all start screaming at me now and let me explain). I am not one who likes red tape and regulating things but in my honest opinion, I think it will be needed to enforce a standard of security that will be needed to have any chance of securing the billions of new devices that will be introduced. We need to look at this as a public safety initiative because, in the end, it could be the factor that saves lives.

Alternatively, we could leave things on the current path and wait for "It" to happen, a complete disastrous event that I am not sure what it will be at this point but whatever it will be, will show us that we should have acted sooner. So let's not sit back on our laurels and do nothing, let's come together and do something for the better of our communities. Our children will likely thank us later for it.

As always tell me what you think, have I got it completely wrong, is there a better way to look at this or approach the issues? Do you have a possible solution (I hope someone does)? I look forward to hearing what you all have to say about this.

Till next time…

Tags 5GIoT devices

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