Our homes and cities are getting smarter by the day. Faster broadband and the internet of things (IoT) mean that gadgets are collecting, transmitting and sharing usefuldata with each other at all times.
Thermostats, video doorbells, sprinkler systems, street lights, traffic cameras and even cars are now connected to the internet and 5G super fast mobile is the catalyst to power up this massive smart network.
By 2025, GSMA Intelligence predicts that more than 25 billion connections will exist in the IoT, but all of this connectivity could produce some serious security risks too – opening up many new windows for hackers.
Cody Brocious, education lead at security consultancy HackerOne says: “Not enough is being done to improve security, and it’s only going to get worse when they [items] become 5G-connected. We’ll see increases in spam and cyber-attacks.”
Steve Buck, chief operating officer at telecoms security company Evolved Intelligence adds: “5G will power critical infrastructure, so a cyber-attack could stop the country.”
Cost plays a big factor into why these devices may not have the security needed to protect the country. When it comes to devices with small sensors that measure air humidity, for example, they need to be cheap and have a very long battery life. This means that malware can target these insecure devices and bombard websites with requests to knock them out. Hackers would then usually ask for a ransom in order to stop the attack.
Even companies who spend billions of dollars on security, such as Facebook and Google, have suffered from recent hacks, so it is vital that security is taken seriously across these vulnerable devices and networks. Cody Brocious believes that 99 per cent of hacker attacks could be stopped on IoT devices by “preventing inbound connections” to them and routing the communications through an intermediary server, paid for on a subscription basis by the users.
Security factors such as two-factor authentication will become the norm on our 5G smartphones, with codes sent to our locked phones.
Mr Zarri from GSMA says that 5G networks are being designed to allow sections to be isolated if they’re attacked or compromised, while others say that security firms will have the power to set in and block traffic if devices connect to something they don’t usually connect to.
It’s good to know that security measures are being thought about, but will it be enough to protect these smart devices, and our security, in future?