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Service Provider

5G: You Can Have Your Slice and Security Too!

April 25, 2019 — by Louis Scialabba1

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We have heard it before. Another generation of mobile architecture is upon us and we are euphoric for all the cool things we can do more of.  And of course good marketers will swear that you can lasso the moon if you have enough money to pay for it.

Let’s inspect 5G for what it really is, save the hype.  It is an upgrade in the mobile architecture that pushes new computing elements and services closer to the edge in order to scale and improve network performance.  The 5G specifications rely on virtualized and distributed network functions that span across remote locations, and is heavily dependent on robust, secure interworking between remote and local virtualized network functions. 

5G also opens the network to new services using IT protocols and Open APIs – the latter of which introduces significant additional liability on the responsibility of the carrier network security owner.

I’ll Take a Slice of That

The “Network Slicing” concept in 5G aims to isolate specific application traffic into a dedicated virtual network. Each slice carries the traffic originating from a specific application, such as IoT Telemetry and Autonomous Vehicles, Smart City and Smartphone. Each application has its unique network traffic pattern and requires specific security policies. Having an isolated virtual networks brings security benefit and limits security risk impact to the specific slice.

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

Sharpening the Edge

With this new network paradigm based on service-based architecture (SBA), the previous 3G and 4G network element boxes transformed into a cloud of micro-services functions, distributed and disaggregated based on the carrier coverage needs and specific applications deployed in the carrier network. The new architecture exposes many internet interfaces in various network segments from the core peering link up to the far-edge compute to address scale and low-latency requirements.

Such mass exposure of external internet interfaces significantly raises the cyber security threat level. IoT and its applications running at the far edge provides new services based on vast usage of open, published interfaces based on HTTP\2.  On one hand, this enables openness and service agility, and on the other, extensive exposure to attacks tools and tactics using publicly available information to wreak havoc on network infrastructure and services. 

In other words, the new 5G security perimeter has widened and expanded far beyond what we are familiar with in LTE and 3G world.

A Call to Arms

A typical network security solution will include various security elements such as firewalls, DDoS protection, web application firewall, etc. Each system may require its own domain expertise when it comes to proper configuration and tuning. When a carrier network is under attack, dedicated expertise is required for handling changes and setting the proper mitigation action.

With the new reality of network slicing and highly distributed network functions carrier security teams will be overburdened unless they employ an automated, self-learning defense mechanism. With the current telecom carriers, the economics of an increase in security staff is not an option when moving toward 5G – it just doesn’t scale from a cost-perspective and it puts human engineers at a disadvantage to ever-increasing machine-based bot attacks. 

[You may also like: Here’s How Net Neutrality & Wearable Devices Can Impact 5G]

Automation as Table Stakes

A comprehensive security solution used across all network slices benefit from ease of management and required team expertise. Security vendors must design security products around the concept of self-learning, which is essentially threat detection not heavily dependent on pre-configured rules. 

Minimal setup and configuration is required in 5G to lower carrier security team effort around system operation.  An automated attack mitigation capability provides security teams with ‘peace of mind’ that all attack time actions taken care without manual intervention by security administrators, with strong visibility into network security threats across all network functions and slices.

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Attack Types & VectorsSecurity

Is My Smart Home Telling People What I Do Every Day?

February 13, 2018 — by Mike O'Malley4

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2017 will forever be known as the year that the smart home started to take off.  Researchers estimate that Amazon has sold over 15 million Echo devices  to date. Plus, Google has sold another 5 million Google Homes.  The overall smart home market is expected to grow to over $50 billion by 2022.  Already 1 in 4 U.S. households has some kind of smart device in their home.  With all the smart thermostats, smart fridges, smart light bulbs, smart doors and windows, personal assistants, and smart home surveillance, internet-connected home devices are rapidly stacking up in U.S. households. These devices are adding convenience and efficiency, but are they safe?

Security

Create Trusted IoT, Become the King of Sweden?

January 25, 2018 — by Mike O'Malley0

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Internet of Things (IoT) devices continue to become more and more prevalent in our daily lives.  Alexa gives us the daily news, smart agricultural sensors help farmers optimize yield, and connected sensors can monitor your pet’s movement and sleeping patterns.  All told, IoT is expected to become a $500 billion market by 2022, r the same size as the overall economy of Sweden, 23rd largest in the world.

Attack Types & VectorsSecurity

Hospital Stays Can Take Out More Than Your Organs

August 30, 2017 — by Louis Scialabba0

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The Cyber Theft Threat in Healthcare and how Service Providers can Transform Risk to Reward

You went to the hospital to get your appendix out and one week later your identity was taken from you as well.  How did this happen? In their 2017 Data Breach survey, Verizon found that ransomware has jumped up from the 22nd most common type of malware in 2014 to the 5th most common. The report also discovered that 72% of all healthcare attacks in 2016 were ransomware and the only industry targeted more than health care is financial services.

SecurityService Provider

Enterprises are asking for help to protect their data. Here’s the answer service providers should provide.

June 20, 2017 — by Mike O'Malley0

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Big. Small. Public. Private. Government. Retail. B2B. Non-profit.

Hackers don’t care about the size or purpose of the organizations they attack. They’re bombarding networks all over the globe with sophisticated multi-vector DDoS attacks, looking to grab any data from which they can profit.

NFVSecurity

The Changing World of Service Provider CPE (Part 2)

June 13, 2017 — by Mike O'Malley0

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For Service Providers, Universal Customer Premise Equipment (uCPE) is getting more interesting every day.  IHS Market analyst, Michael Howard, said in a recent SDxCentral article that “the uCPE [universal customer premises equipment] phenomenon is an almost perfect storm of five trends, whether it is white box, grey box, or more proprietary. This new uCPE market is resulting from enterprise demand that virtualized security functions reside physically inside the walls of enterprise locations.”  The trends that Howard cites are:

SecurityService Provider

The Economics of Cyber-Attacks

April 4, 2017 — by Mike O'Malley0

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How to Provide State of the Art Protection against Real World Threats

We live in a world where increasing numbers of complex cyber breach tools are available on the Darknet. But what is the Darknet and how do we protect against it? The Darknet is an anonymous and obfuscated section of the internet where criminals can exchange information, tools and money to carry out attacks with little or no traceability. The Darknet provides a service marketplace where criminals can do many of the same things that law-abiding citizens do every day. Criminals search the internet (anonymously). They exchange emails with other criminals and prospective customers, they read news on the latest opensource tools available to perform effective attacks. They even have an online marketplace where cyber-attack services can be ordered and placed into your online shopping cart. In fact, a Darknet marketplace recently advertised $7,500 to rent the now notorious Mirai botnet – the same botnet used to generate a several hundred gigabit multi-vector attack that took down the services of Amazon, BBC, HBO, Netflix, PayPal, Spotify, and many others in October 2016.