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Out of the Shadows, Into the Network

April 9, 2019 — by Radware0

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Network security is a priority for every carrier worldwide. Investments in human resources and technology solutions to combat attacks are a significant part of carriers’ network operating budgets.

The goal is to protect their networks by staying a few steps ahead of hackers. Currently, carriers may be confident that their network security solution is detecting and mitigating DDoS attacks.

All the reports generated by the solution show the number and severity of attacks as well as how they were thwarted. Unfortunately, we know it’s a false sense of well-being because dirty traffic in the form of sophisticated application attacks is getting through security filters. No major outages or data breaches have been attributed to application attacks yet, so why should carriers care?

Maintaining a Sunny Reputation

The impact of application attacks on carriers and their customers takes many forms:

  • Service degradation
  • Network outages
  • Data exposure
  • Consumption of bandwidth resources
  • Consumption of system resources

[You may also like: How Cyberattacks Directly Impact Your Brand]

A large segment of carriers’ high-value customers have zero tolerance for service interruption. There is a direct correlation between service outages and user churn.

Application attacks put carriers’ reputations at risk. For customers, a small slowdown in services may not be a big deal initially. But as the number and severity of application attacks increase, clogged pipes and slow services are not going to be acceptable. Carriers sell services based on speed and reliability. Bad press about service outages and data compromises has long-lasting negative effects. Then add the compounding power of social networking to quickly spread the word about service issues, and you have a recipe for reputation disaster.

[You may also like: Securing the Customer Experience for 5G and IoT]

Always Under Attack

It’s safe for carriers to assume that their networks are always under attack. DDoS attack volume is escalating as hackers develop new and more technologically sophisticated ways to target carriers and their customers In 2018, attack campaigns were primarily composed of multiple attacks vectors, according to the Radware 2018–2019 Global Application & Network Security Report.

The report finds that “a bigger picture is likely to emerge about the need to deploy security solutions that not only adapt to changing attack vectors to mitigate evolving threats but also maintain service availability at the same time.”

[You may also like: Here’s How Carriers Can Differentiate Their 5G Offerings]

Attack vectors include:

  • SYN Flood
  • UDP Flood
  • DNS Flood
  • HTTP Application Flood
  • SSL Flood
  • Burst Attacks
  • Bot Attacks

Attackers prefer to keep a target busy by launching one or a few attacks at a time rather than firing the entire arsenal all at once. Carriers may be successful at blocking four or five attack vectors, but it only takes one failure for the damage to be done.

2018 Mobile Carrier Ebook

Read “Creating a Secure Climate for your Customers” today.

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Are Connected Cows a Hacker’s Dream?

April 3, 2019 — by Mike O'Malley0

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Humans aren’t the only ones consumed with connected devices these days. Cows have joined our ranks.

Believe it or not, farmers are increasingly relying on IoT devices to keep their cattle connected. No, not so that they can moo-nitor (see what I did there?) Instagram, but to improve efficiency and productivity. For example, in the case of dairy farms, robots feed, milk and monitor cows’ health, collecting data along the way that help farmers adjust techniques and processes to increase milk production, and thereby profitability.

The implications are massive. As the Financial Times pointed out, “Creating a system where a cow’s birth, life, produce and death are not only controlled but entirely predictable could have a dramatic impact on the efficiency of the dairy industry.”

From Dairy Farm to Data Center

So, how do connected cows factor into cybersecurity? By the simple fact that the IoT devices tasked with milking, feeding and monitoring them are turning dairy farms into data centers – which has major security implications. Because let’s face it, farmers know cows, not cybersecurity.

Indeed, the data collected are stored in data centers and/or a cloud environment, which opens farmers up to potentially costly cyberattacks. Think about it: The average U.S. dairy farm is a $1 million operation, and the average cow produces $4,000 in revenue per year. That’s a lot at stake—roughly $19,000 per week, given the average dairy farm’s herd—if a farm is struck by a ransomware attack.

[You may also like: IoT Expands the Botnet Universe]

It would literally be better for an individual farm to pay a weekly $2,850 ransom to keep the IoT network up. And if hackers were sophisticated enough to launch an industry-wide attack, the dairy industry would be better off paying $46 million per week in ransom rather than lose revenue.

5G Cows

Admittedly, connected cows aren’t new; IoT devices have been assisting farmers for several years now. And it’s a booming business. Per the FT, “Investment in precision ‘agtech’ systems reached $3.2bn globally in 2016 (including $363m in farm management and sensor technology)…and is set to grow further as dairy farms become a test bed for the wider IoT strategy of big technology companies.”

[You may also like: Securing the Customer Experience for 5G and IoT]

But what is new is the rollout of 5G networks, which promise faster speeds, low latency and increased flexibility—seemingly ideal for managing IoT devices. But, as we’ve previously discussed, with new benefits come new risks. As network architectures evolve to support 5G, security vulnerabilities will abound if cybersecurity isn’t prioritized and integrated into a 5G deployment from the get-go.

In the new world of 5G, cyberattacks can become much more potent, as a single hacker can easily multiply into an army through botnet deployment. Indeed, 5G opens the door to a complex world of interconnected devices that hackers will be able to exploit via a single point of access in a cloud application to quickly expand an attack radius to other connected devices and applications. Just imagine the impact of a botnet deployment on the dairy industry.

[You may also like: IoT, 5G Networks and Cybersecurity: A New Atmosphere for Mobile Network Attacks]

I don’t know about you, but I like my milk and cheeses. Here’s to hoping dairy farmers turn to the experts to properly manage their security before the industry is hit with devastating cyberattacks.

2018 Mobile Carrier Ebook

Read “Creating a Secure Climate for your Customers” today.

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Here’s How Net Neutrality & Wearable Devices Can Impact 5G

March 28, 2019 — by Mike O'Malley1

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AT&T and Verizon are committed to an aggressive, multi-city roll out plan in a race to be the first carrier to implement national 5G deployment. We see this competition play out almost daily in the news: AT&T’s “5G E” is slower than Verizon 4G,  Verizon declares 5G war on AT&T, Verizon inks a deal with the NFL to bring 5G to stadiums, and so forth. And yet, despite this newsworthy competition between telecom giants, we still have a limited understanding of the benefits and risks of 5G.

There are the obvious benefits – faster service, for one – and risks, like insufficient security infrastructure. But what about other, less considered factors that can impact 5G (both positively and negatively), such as net neutrality and wearable devices? How do they play into the risks and rewards of this communications (r)evolution?

Net Neutrality

Currently, net neutrality in the U.S. is embroiled in partisan politics and it’s unclear whether these regulations will be reinstated. But operating under the current status, in which net neutrality rules are suspended, service providers stand to profit from 5G.

[You may also like: Here’s How Carriers Can Differentiate Their 5G Offerings]

As we’ve previously discussed, 5G allows for service providers to “slice” portions of a spectrum as a customizable service for specific types of devices and different customer segments—and without net neutrality, carriers can conceivably charge premium rates for higher quality of service. In other words, service providers could profit by charging select industries that require large bandwidth and low latency – like healthcare and manufacturing, for example – higher premiums.

This premium service/premium revenue model represents a significant ROI for carriers on their 5G infrastructure investment. Not only does slicing provide flexibility for multi-service deployment, it enables the realization of diverse applications on that physical resource, which helps recoup cost for the capital investment.

[You may also like: Don’t Be a “Dumb” Carrier]

However, because implementation will be patchy, with initial focus on high-density, urban areas (versus rural populations), the so-called digital divide may very well deepen, not just for consumers but for rural industries like healthcare and agriculture as well.

Wearable Devices

IoT devices have outpaced the human population for the first time in history. And 5G will undoubtedly  fan the flames of interest in wearable devices, due to its projected speed and availability of data.  

While these devices can certainly make life easier, and even potentially healthier (think about the ECG app on the Apple Watch!), they also carry enormous risk. Why? Because they’re hackable – and they contain a treasure trove of sensitive data, like your location, health stats, and more. And the risk doesn’t only impact the individual wearing an IoT device; enterprises are likewise at risk when their employees wear devices at work and transmit data over office WiFi.    

[You may also like: Securing the Customer Experience for 5G and IoT]

What’s Next?

With the ever-changing nature of internet regulations and the explosion of wearable devices, security must be top-of-mind for service providers. Not only is security advantageous to end users, but for the carriers as well; best-of-breed security opens the possibility for capturing new revenue streams.

No matter the complexity of securing 5G networks, there are solutions. For example, service providers should consider differentiated security mechanisms, offering security as a service to vertical industries, and segregating virtual network slices to safeguard their networks. And of course, let the (security) experts help the (carrier) experts.

2018 Mobile Carrier Ebook

Read “Creating a Secure Climate for your Customers” today.

Download Now

Mobile SecurityService Provider

Here’s How Carriers Can Differentiate Their 5G Offerings

February 28, 2019 — by Mike O'Malley0

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Much of the buzz surrounding this year’s Mobile World Congress has focused on “cool” tech innovations. There are self-driving cars, IoT-enhanced bee hives, smart textiles that monitor your health, realistic human chatbots, AI robots, and so forth. But, one piece of news that has flown relatively under the radar is the pending collaboration between carriers for 5G implementation.

A Team Effort

As Bloomberg reported, carriers from Vodafone Group Plc, Telecom Italia SpA and Telefonica SA are willing to call “a partial truce” to help each other build 5G infrastructure in an attempt “to avoid duplication and make scarce resources go further.”

Sounds great (who doesn’t love a solid team effort?!)…except for one thing: the pesky issue of competing for revenue streams in an industry fraught with financial challenges. As the Bloomberg article pointed out, “by creating more interdependent and overlapping networks, the risk is that each will find it harder to differentiate their offering.”

[You may also like: Securing the Customer Experience for 5G and IoT]

While this is certainly a valid concern, there is an obvious solution: If carriers are looking for differentiation in a collaborative environment, they need to leverage security as a competitive advantage.

Security as a Selling Point

As MWC19 is showing us in no uncertain terms, IoT devices—from diabetic smart socks to dairy milking monitors—are the way of the future. And they will largely be powered by 5G networks, beginning as early as this year.

Smart boot and sock monitor blood sugar, pulse rate, temperature and more for diabetics.

Which is all to say, although carriers are nervous about setting themselves apart while they work in partnership to build 5G infrastructure, there’s a huge opportunity to differentiate themselves by claiming ownership of IoT device security.

[You may also like: Don’t Be A “Dumb” Carrier]

As I recently wrote, IoT devices are especially vulnerable because of manufacturers’ priority to maintain low costs, rather than spending more on additional security features. If mobile service providers create a secure environment, they can establish a competitive advantage and reap financial rewards.

Indeed, best-of-breed security opens the possibility for capturing new revenue streams; mobile IoT businesses will pay an additional service premium for the peace of mind that their devices will be secure and can maintain 100% availability. And if a competing carrier suffers a data breach, for example, you can expect their customer attrition to become your win.

My words of advice: Collaborate. But do so while holding an ace—security—in your back pocket.

2018 Mobile Carrier Ebook

Read “Creating a Secure Climate for your Customers” today.

Download Now

Mobile SecurityService Provider

Securing the Customer Experience for 5G and IoT

February 21, 2019 — by Louis Scialabba1

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5G is set to bring fast speeds, low latency and more data to the customer experience for today’s digitized consumer. Driven by global demand for 24×7 high-speed internet access, the business landscape will only increase in competitiveness as service providers jockey to deliver improved network capabilities.

Although the mass roll-out of the cutting-edge technology is expected around 2020, the race to 5G deployment has already begun. In addition to serving as the foundation for the aforementioned digital transformation, 5G networks will also deliver the integral infrastructure required for increased agility and flexibility.


But with new benefits come new risks. As network architectures evolve to support 5G, it will leave security vulnerabilities if cybersecurity isn’t prioritized and integrated into a 5G deployment from the get-go to provide a secure environment that safeguards customers’ data and devices.

Cybersecurity for 5G shouldn’t be viewed as an additional operational cost, but rather as a business opportunity/competitive differentiator that is integrated throughout the overall architecture. Just as personal data has become a commodity in today’s world, carriers will need the right security solution to keep data secure while improving the customer experience via a mix of availability and security.

For more insight into how service providers can mitigate the business risks of 5G deployment, please read our white paper.

2018 Mobile Carrier Ebook

Read “Creating a Secure Climate for your Customers” today.

Download Now

SecurityService Provider

The End of the Telephone

November 20, 2018 — by David Hobbs1

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Telephones have come a long way in their short lives, evolving from a simple transmitter and receiver to today’s ubiquitous smartphones. But as technologies continue to consolidate and automation takes over, what are we going to do at the end of the telephone? And what are the security implications of that?

Imagine a world where phone numbers have no meaning, and we instead rely on a system resembling an Internet IP address that shifts according to location. Afterall, we’re increasingly using smartphone apps like WhatsApp, iMessage, FaceTime, Skype (and so many more!) to communicate. How often do we actually dial our friends and family to talk? Moreover, how many of us still even own landlines?!

The fact is, we, as a society, interact more and more via apps, and I predict that the end of POTS (Plain Old Telephone System) will come faster than you think. Even my ageing parents have disconnected their home phones and my 84-year-old father uses an iPhone!

[You may also like: Consolidation in Consumer Products: Could it Solve the IoT Security Issues?]

So, with cybersecurity in mind, what does this new trend mean?  Do we have ways to integrate our businesses into this new era?  How do we keep our customers, friends and family connected, while keeping our data safe?

The reliance on chat apps is beneficial in that it helps avoid international call charges and allows us to be global citizens without boundaries imposed by phone companies.  But it also opens us up to vulnerabilities, like potentially communicating and exchanging sensitive data with the wrong person(s). While two factor authentication—which is used, for example, when you log into a bank account from a public Internet device and the site confirms your identity via text or a call—works now, when phone numbers disappear, it won’t do any good.

This is where the future of innovation plays a critical role; we will need a new way to identify and connect with people beyond face recognition, fingerprints on an iPhone or a password generated by a system. For example, 5G networks allow for the design of software defined private networking and the ability to provide function virtualization.   We should begin to see full security stack solutions at the endpoint of radio /5G /WiFi, without security having to live in the central office.

[You may also like: IoT, 5G Networks and Cybersecurity: Safeguarding 5G Networks with Automation and AI]

Look forward to the future where trust and identity are going to be better than some sort of robot speak of numbers and data on the screen.

Read “Radware’s 2018 Web Application Security Report” to learn more.

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IoT, 5G Networks and Cybersecurity: Safeguarding 5G Networks with Automation and AI

September 18, 2018 — by Louis Scialabba1

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By 2020, Gartner says there will be 20.4 billion IoT devices. That rounds out to almost three devices per person on earth. As a result, IoT devices will show up in just about every aspect of daily life. While IoT devices promise benefits such as improved productivity, longevity and enjoyment, they also open a Pandora’s box of security issues for mobile service providers.

This flood of IoT devices, combined with the onset of 5G networks to support it, is creating an atmosphere ripe for mobile network attacks.  This threat landscape requires mobile service providers to alter their approach to network security or suffer dire consequences. The same old tools are no longer enough.

[You might also like: A New Atmosphere for Mobile Network Attacks]

Battle Increased Complexity with Automation

For years, security teams have struggled with the proliferation of data from dozens of security products, outpacing their ability to process it. This same problem applies to mobile service providers regarding the aforementioned issues surrounding 5G and IoT devices.

Security threats and anomalies within mobile network traffic are growing faster than security teams can detect and react to them. All the security threats we see now on enterprise networks are a harbinger of what’s to come on 5G networks. The introduction of 5G adds significant complexities to mobile networks that require next-generation security solutions.

Automation is key to better identification and mitigation of these threats for mobile service providers. Machine-learning based DDoS mitigation solutions enable real-time detection and mitigation of DDoS attacks. Through behavioral analysis, bad traffic can then be identified and automatically blocked before any damage is done.

[You might also like: The Rise of 5G Networks]

Automation Across the Security Architecture

For mobile service providers, automation must expand across all layers of the security architecture. First and foremost, the network must be leveraged as a sensor, a digital cyberattack tripwire. In 5G networks, network elements are distributed at the edge and virtualized. The network’s endpoints can be used as detection spots to send messages back to a centralized control plane (CCP).

The CCP serves as the brain of the network, compiling all the inputs from its telemetry feeds to deploy the best way to apply mitigation policies.

The myriad amount of CCP data can be put to work via Big Data. As 5G pushes network functions and data to the cloud, there’s an opportunity to use this information to better protect against attacks with the help of artificial intelligence (AI) and deep learning.

This is where the “big” in “big data” comes into play. Because 5G virtual devices live on the edge of the network in small appliances, there isn’t enough computing power available to identify evolving attack traffic from within. But by feeding traffic through an extra layer of protection at large data centers, it is possible to efficiently compile all the data to identify attacks.

Large data centers can be prohibitively expensive to house and maintain. Ideally, these data centers are housed and maintained by the mobile service provider’s DDoS mitigation vendor, which leverages its network of cloud-based scrubbing centers (and the massive volumes of threat intelligence it collects) to process this information and automatically feed it back to the mobile service provider.

A Game of Probability

In the end, IoT and 5G security will come down to being a game of probability, however, automation and AI stack the odds heavily in favor of mobile service providers.

The new network technology has the speed and capacity to enable AI with data from 50 billion connected devices. AI requires huge amounts of data to sift through and create neural networks where anomalies can be detected, with emphasis on good data. Bad or poisoned data will lead to biased models and false negatives. The more good data, the better the outcomes in this high-stakes game of probability.

As all this traffic is fed through the scrubbing centers at data centers around the world, AI can help inform security algorithms to detect protocol anomalies and flag issues. The near real-time process is complicated. Like an FBI watch list, a register of attack information goes to a mobile network’s control plane. The result is a threat intelligence feed that uses the power of machine learning to identify and prevent attacks.

The best place to populate AI and deep learning systems is from crowdsourcing and global communities where large numbers of enterprises and networks contribute data. Bad data will find its way in, but the good data will significantly outnumber the bad data to make deep learning possible.

Ultimately, the threats from botnets, web scraping, and IoT zombies is dynamic and increasingly complex. With 5G on the horizon, it’s critical that mobile service providers are proactive and make plans now to protect their networks against evolving security threats by turning to machine learning and AI.

2018 Mobile Carrier Ebook

Read “Creating a Secure Climate for your Customers” today.

Download Now

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IoT, 5G Networks and Cybersecurity: A New Atmosphere for Mobile Network Attacks

August 28, 2018 — by Louis Scialabba5

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The development and onset of 5G networks bring a broad array of not only mobile opportunities but also a litany of cybersecurity challenges for service providers and customers alike. While the employment of Internet of Things (IoT) devices for large scale cyberattacks has become commonplace, little has been accomplished for their network protection. For example, research by Ponemon Institute has found that 97% of companies believe IoT devices could wreak havoc on their organizations.

With hackers constantly developing technologically sophisticated ways to target mobile network services and their customers, the rapidly-approaching deployment of 5G networks, combined with IoT device vulnerability has created a rich environment for mobile network cyberattacks.

[You might also like: The Rise of 5G Networks]

Forecast Calls for More Changes

Even in today’s widespread use of 4G networks, network security managers face daily changes in security threats from hackers. Just as innovations for security protection improve, the sophistication of attacks will parallel. Cybersecurity agency ENISA forebodes an increase in the prevalence of security risks if security standards’ development doesn’t keep pace.

Add in research company Gartner’s estimate that there will be 20.4 billion connected devices by 2020, hackers will have a happy bundle of unprotected, potential bots to work with. In the new world of 5G, mobile network attacks can become much more potent, as a single hacker can easily multiply into an army through the use of botnet deployment.

Separating the Good from the Bad

Although “bot traffic” has an unappealing connotation to it, not all is bad. Research from Radware’s Emergency Response Team shows that 56% of internet traffic is represented by both good and bad bots, and of that percentage, they contribute almost equally to it. The critical part for service providers, however, is to be able to differentiate the two and stop the bad bots on their path to chaos.

New Technology, New Concerns

Although 4G is expected to continue dominating the market until 2025, 5G services will be in demand as soon as its rollout in 2020 driven by features such as:

  • 100x faster transmission speeds resulting in improved network performance
  • Lower latency for improved device connections and application delivery
  • 1,000x greater data capacity which better supports more simultaneous device connections
  • Value-added services enabled by network slicing for better user experience

The key differentiating variable in the composition of 5G networks is its unique architecture of the distributed nature capabilities, where all network elements and operations function via the cloud. Its flexibility allows for more data to pass through, making it optimal for the incoming explosion of IoT devices and attacks, if unsecured. Attacks can range from standard IoT attacks to burst attacks, even potentially escalating to smartphone infections and operating system malware.

[You might also like: Can You Protect Your Customers in a 5G Universe?]

5G networks will require an open, virtual ecosystem, one where service providers have less control over the physical elements of the network and more dependent on the cloud. More cloud applications will be dependent on a variety of APIs. This opens the door to a complex world of interconnected devices that hackers will be able to exploit via a single point of access in a cloud application to quickly expand the attack radius to other connected devices and applications.

Not only are mobile service providers at risk, but as are their customers; if not careful, this can lead to more serious repercussions regarding customer loyalty and trust between the two.

A Slice of the 5G Universe

Now that the new network technology is virtualized, 5G allows for service providers to “slice” portions of a spectrum as a customizable service for specific types of devices. Each device will now have its own respective security, data-flow processes, quality, and reliability. Although more ideal for their customers, it can simultaneously prove to be a challenge in satisfying the security needs of each slice. Consequently, security can no longer be considered as simply an option but as another integral variable that will need to be fused as part of the architecture from the beginning.

2018 Mobile Carrier Ebook

Read “Creating a Secure Climate for your Customers” today.

Download Now

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IoT, 5G Networks and Cybersecurity: The Rise of 5G Networks

August 16, 2018 — by Louis Scialabba2

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Smartphones today have more computing power than the computers that guided the Apollo 11 moon landing. From its original positioning of luxury, mobile devices have become a necessity in numerous societies across the globe.

With recent innovations in mobile payment such as Apple Pay, Android Pay, and investments in cryptocurrency, cyberattacks have become especially more frequent with the intent of financial gain. In the past year alone, hackers have been able to mobilize and weaponize unsuspected devices to launch severe network attacks. Working with a North American service provider, Radware investigations found that about 30% of wireless network traffic originated from mobile devices launching DDoS attacks.

Each generation of network technology comes with its own set of security challenges.

How Did We Get Here?

Starting in the 1990s, the evolution of 2G networks enabled service providers the opportunity to dip their toes in the water that is security issues, where their sole security challenge was the protection of voice calls. This was resolved through call encryption and the development of SIM cards.

Next came the generation of 3G technology where the universal objective (at the time) for a more concrete and secure network was accomplished. 3G networks became renowned for the ability to provide faster speeds and access to the internet. In addition, the new technology provided better security with encryption for voice calls and data traffic, minimizing the impact and damage levels of data payload theft and rogue networks.

Fast forward to today. The era of 4G technology has evolved the mobile ecosystem to what is now a mobile universe that fits into our pockets. Delivering significantly faster speeds, 4G networks also exposed the opportunities for attackers to exploit susceptible devices for similarly quick and massive DDoS attacks. More direct cyberattacks via the access of users’ sensitive data also emerged – and are still being tackled – such as identity theft, ransomware, and cryptocurrency-related criminal activity.

The New Age

2020 is the start of a massive rollout of 5G networks, making security concerns more challenging. The expansion of 5G technology comes with promises of outstanding speeds, paralleling with landline connection speeds. The foundation of the up-and-coming network is traffic distribution via cloud servers. While greatly benefitting 5G users, this will also allow attackers to equally reap the benefits. Without the proper security elements in place, attackers can wreak havoc with their now broadened horizons of potential chaos.

What’s Next?

In the 5G universe, hackers can simply attach themselves to a 5G connection remotely and collaborate with other servers to launch attacks of a whole new level. Service providers will have to be more preemptive with their defenses in this new age of technology. Because of the instantaneous speeds and low lag time, they’re in the optimal position to defend against cyberattacks before attackers can reach the depths of the cloud server.

2018 Mobile Carrier Ebook

Discover more about what the 5G generation will bring, both benefits and challenges, in Radware’s e-book “Creating a Secure Climate for your Customers” today.

Download Now

Security

The Evolving Network Security Environment – Can You Protect Your Customers in a 5G Universe?

July 17, 2018 — by Louis Scialabba1

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Smart Farming depends on internet of things (IoT) devices and sensors to monitor vast farm fields, guiding farmers’ decisions about crop management through rich data. But it only takes one security flaw for all stakeholders within the ecosystem to be impacted. If hackers gain access to a single sensor, they can navigate their way to the farm-management application servers and manipulate data. Crop productivity levels are falsified, both basic and complex condition-monitoring systems are distorted, and real-time harm occurs through automatic IoT sensors. At stake is not only the productivity of crops, but the food that supplies livestock and humans: What if there was no corn for you?