In November 2021, the Center for Cybersecurity at NYU Tandon hosted a panel on the growing cyber threats to 5G networks. As one 2021 survey estimates that the global market for 5G infrastructure will grow by about 800% in the next five years, threats such as the ones listed below can not be ignored.
Massive scale denial of service (DoS) attacks
Man-in-the-middle (MitM) attacks
Hardware and software Trojans
Attacks launched from within the network or edge cloud itself.
The session was hosted by Dr. Siddharth Garg, a faculty member for both the NYU Center for Cybersecurity and NYU WIRELESS, and Dr. Sundeep Rangan, associate director of NYU WIRELESS. The panelists, two each to represent the sectors of industry, academia, and government, were:
Michael Liljestam, principal researcher at Ericsson Research
Vishwamitra Nandlall, VP of tech strategy at Dell Technologies
Syed Rafiul Hussain, Assistant Professor of Computer Science and Engineering, Penn State University
Christina Pöpper, principal investigator of the Cyber Security and Privacy Lab at NYU Abu Dhabi
Robinson Pino, program manager at the U.S. Department of Energy
James Wilson, program manager of the Microsystems Technology Office, Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency
Topics ranged from how distributed network functions create “more points of interaction that equals greater risk,” to the “trade-offs” in utility that may be needed to protect privacy. The participants also discussed the notion of “zero trust supply chains” in which trust is not taken as a given, even though the network is assumed to be a trusted party. Lastly, the group debated the expanding positive and negative potentials of artificial intelligence and machine learning.
Perhaps the comment that best summed up the importance of securing these technologies came from Nandlall of Dell Technologies who observed that “5G is the tipping point where cellular becomes critical infrastructure.” In the light of this change, industry, academia and government agencies need to heed the words of Penn State’s Hussain and recognize that “security and privacy must be first class citizen” when it comes to setting priorities.
The full panel discussion can be accessed at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jui-Fvqmt2s.