According to the European Commission, the fifth generation of the 5G mobile communications standard should be well secured because it is systemically important. A 5G risk assessment reveals possible threats.
According to the European Commission, the new 5G mobile communications standard should form the backbone of societies and economies in the future. With an estimated worldwide turnover of €225 billion in 2025, the Commission classifies 5G technology as a key factor in European competitiveness in the global market. This automatically raises the question of security, because when it comes to system-relevant technology, cybercriminals are never far away. Vice President Andrus Ansip, responsible for the digital single market, said: “It is very important that 5G infrastructures in the EU are robust and fully protected against technical or legal back doors.” A clear commitment, which the recommendation follows, to carry out a risk assessment in a first step at both national and European level.
EU risk assessment: complex attacks on 5G
This was done with a report by the NIS Cooperation Group, which is formed by representatives of the Member States, the European Commission and the EU Agency for Cyber Security (ENISA). According to the report the greatest threat to 5G networks therefore comes from other countries. They may not only have the motivation but also the possibilities to attack 5G networks. These attacks could be very complex and have a major impact on the public and thus on traffic. The report also considers other possible actors as dangerous, such as insiders of a telecommunications provider or their service providers and organized crime. This shows that attacks on the new standard will be costly and massive.
At the same time, the report shows where the 5G network could have its weaknesses. The group was able to identify security problems in the software and in the wide range of services and applications that will only arise through 5G technology. In addition, the suppliers are also found a risk factor in the construction and operation of the networks, as is the degree of dependence. It can therefore be assumed that the risk could increase due to a lack of software development processes at suppliers.
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