5G inherits vulnerabilities from previous generations that threaten the system

The 5G leads a digital change and a social transformation that leaves, with its progressive deployment, certain fears and insecurities. A study conducted by Syed Rafiul Hussain, a researcher at Purdue University in Indiana, USA, highlights 11 potential vulnerabilities in devices using 5G. These bugs could be used, among other things, to track a user's real-time location or know their identity, falsify emergency alerts, or unannounced disconnect a phone from the network altogether. The author acknowledges that the 5G system, accessible from 2020, is safer than the previous ones but insists that it has similar flays that need to be analyzed and, as far as possible, suppressed


we should have a European plan, or at least Spanish, to reconvert the jobs that will be affected by this digital change

In parallel, the European Network and Information Security Agency (ENISA) published last Thursday an extensive study that exposes a comprehensive picture of high-level threats from the new expanding network. Among the 60 risks listed are the manipulation of the connection to control other devices and access, illegal configuration of content and data, multiple frauds and false alarms, abuse of open application programming interfaces, espionage and information theft, and the fragility of 5G infrastructures in the face of natural disasters such as floods, fires or earthquakes.

The industry expects to have 1.5 billion 5G users by 2020 and by 2024 to bring 40% of the world's population to connected. The study highlights all the risks posed by the old generations of mobile telephony for the user and emphasizes, like Hussain, that the 5G inherits some of them. Juhan Lepassaar, the CEO of ENISA, believes that the arrival of 5G networks carries numerous security challenges as well as 1G to 4G technology". The risks are because, in this new generation, data is highly exposed because there will be many more devices and applications connected. The report aims, as the European institution intends, to carry out more detailed analyses and assessments focused on particular elements of 5G infrastructure to help understand its exposure to threats.

Researchers have built a standard model of a 5G device and verified a total of 187 properties

U Purdue and University of Iowa researchers have followed this line. They have built a standard model of a 5G device and verified a total of 187 infrastructure properties thanks to its system 5GReasoner: a detailed security and privacy analysis. Through language modeling, they have captured the behavior of the device and sent slogans to see how it responded. "For example, we tried to see if it was possible to capture and recreate an entire conversation with exactly the same information. And so, little by little, we could see that it had the same flaws as the old technologies," rafiul.

To&Arturo Azcorra, director of IMDEA Networks and professor at the Carlos III University of Madrid, no technology is beyond reproach and 5G is like any other tool: it allows you to do many things as long as it is used well. Any technology gives opportunities and, as precisely, it is the user who must know where to set their limits to protect their identity and integrity. "This is the first time that security has been incorporated as the main criterion when before [1G to 4G] it was just an added aspect," argues the researcher

. Better to prevent than to cure

Industry forecasts to have 1.5 billion subscriptions and reach 40% of the world's population by 2024

In the face of such risks from this technological revolution, Hussain emphasizes that one of the main objectives of the study is to prevent them. "We want to make sure that the new technology infrastructure is secure before it is massively deployed. We want to make our network the most robust ever," he says. The research has not had access to the devices already deployed on the market so the findings are hypothetical. For Azcorra, the study is very useful and valuable for the analysis and improvement of systems. "They make an interpretation of the standard that has the minimum characteristics. When put on the market and in operation, new restrictions and extensions are introduced. I see these vulnerabilities as indicators that certainly need to be analyzed and allow for an important view. But they still have to be checked," stresses Professor,

The main fear of the Spanish expert with 5G is not data privacy, possible false alarms or identity theft. "The greatest risk I see is the social transformation that we are going to live and to react to. We should have a European or at least Spanish plan to reconvert the jobs that will be affected by this digital change," concludes,