The rollout of 5G cellular data is going to have a very serious impact on cyber attacks and even cyber insurance. 5G is the next evolution of data that is transmitted by cellular networks through your cell carrier. AT&T T-Mobile Verizon, all the networks have different iterations. You’ve seen 3G, 4G, and 5G and might think it’s just one number more, but it’s really not, it’s a completely different technology. 5G will have a very high bandwidth and a much more robust latency.
Latency means that not only will the data be transmitted faster, but the delay between pinging the data and returning the information will be faster. This will allow 5G to be used for more types of connections. A lot of the things in your office, home, or vehicle have computers that need to be connected to the internet but also need to exchange data very quickly. Your wifi network likely has good latency, but your cell network may not. That’s why sometimes videos, games, and other media may lag when using your cell network rather than your wifi. If your cell connection is through 4G, once 5G is rolled out, that lag will disappear. There’s going to be more coverage and the coverage will be faster.
When 5G is rolled out, many of the devices that you currently have on your network will switch from your wifi or 4G cell network to 5G. Things like cameras, electronic doorbells, monitors, vehicle stereo systems, smart devices, and other electronic devices will begin to use 5G connections.
5G and cyber security
Your devices connecting to 5G instead of your wifi network will put an additional layer of risk into your network. As your devices are set up now, all of your data goes through one place: your wifi router. Everything that goes into that wifi box can be protected with good firewalls and security patches because it’s one single space that you have access to and control over.
Once 5G is rolled out, all of those devices on your premise will connect directly to 5G instead of your wifi network. Meaning, that each one of these devices is technically a vector point for danger.
For example, imagine going to an airport. Everyone is lined up to go through the same security checkpoint. The security checkpoint is your wifi router and the people in line represent the devices and data on your network. You can verify everyone who goes through security by funneling everyone through one security checkpoint. Now, imagine if the security checkpoint didn’t matter anymore and the airports were letting people in through random doors, windows, and over the fence. How can you verify that everyone coming in from different access points is meant to be there and won’t cause harm to others?
Cyber security preparation for 5G rollout
All of the devices on your premise will need to be protected because they’ll be pinging different 5G towers. The best way to begin preparing your cyber security plan is to create a census of all of the different devices in your network. Even if they’re currently connecting through wifi, if they’re set up for 4G connectivity, the transition to using 5G will be seamless and automatic. On this list, make sure to include all locations such as your home, car, and office.
The potential cyber security threats of the 5G rollout may be overwhelming and it’s easy to want to avoid them and just hope it won’t happen to you. Even if you think that you wouldn’t care if someone hacked into something minor like your car stereo system, know that cybercriminals work laterally. This means that once they’re into one device, they spread out and can use the infected device as a vector entry to detect other devices that have connected to this one. If they can detect other devices, they can infect those devices.
Prior to the 5G rollout, make sure that you create your device census to know all of the potential vector entry points. In addition, talk to a cyber security expert or look into a cyber insurance plan as a backup. Do your research and secure your devices to make sure you’re prepared for potential losses and aware of the evolving risks of 5G with cyber security.