As common to all new technology, there will always be a vulnerability that will come with it. With 5G (the
5th generation of wireless data networks), people usually think about higher data speeds, but it’s not the
only advantage or use case 5G offers. Due to its low latency, low power consumption, and high data
capacity, 5G opens several possibilities for Internet of Things (IoT) devices to be connected on a scale
never seen before. It opens more use cases for smart homes, smart campuses, or even smart cities.
Most 5G networks will be managed by software, mostly using Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine
Learning (ML) models. Software is needed because 5G is designed to handle enormous amounts and
varying types of data and it will be needed for auto-scaling and properly handling the load too. Threat
actors will try to take over that software to control it and manipulate the network and they can also try
to target the ML and AI models by poisoning the data. Doing so would enable them to create blind spots
so that they can bypass the security or fly under the radar.
High-band 5G frequencies can hold the biggest bandwidth, but it also comes with the cost of coverage.
This means that the data can only travel a significantly shorter distance compared to its predecessors.
Network providers are trying to address this by installing smaller cells in different spots in an area, such
as lamp posts, opening a lot of attack surfaces for threat actors. For example, if they compromise one of
these small cells, they can perform man-in-the-middle attacks to listen in on the network traffic and
manipulate the data. This will add another problem; with more points to secure, it could only take one of
these small cells to become compromised to affect the entire network. 5G is a new technology, and as is
common with all new technologies, there will always be new vulnerabilities that will be discovered along
with it. The best way to handle all the new vulnerabilities is to be aware of the attack scenarios and
mitigations, which will be covered in this article in detail.