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Mobile DataMobile Security

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

March 28, 2019 — by Mike O'Malley0

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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

SecurityService Provider

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

September 18, 2018 — by Louis Scialabba2

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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

BotnetsMobile DataMobile SecuritySecurityService Provider

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

DDoSSecurity

Could Your Local Car Dealer, Bank or Doctor’s Office be Next?

August 17, 2017 — by Mike O'Malley0

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What do local car dealers, hospitals and banks all have in common? At first glance, not much. However, all of them have become recent hacker targets. Why now when other, much larger corporate entities have traditionally been targets? One word – resources. Their resources, both network and personnel, are stretched thin. With the increased complexity and length of Distributed Denial-of-Service (DDoS) attacks, it’s a struggle for all organizations, let alone small and medium businesses. The 2016 State of SMB Security Report found that half of the 28 million small businesses surveyed were breached in the past year. Verizon cited, in their 2017 Data Breach report, that 61% of data breach victims were businesses with less than 1,000 employees.

NFVSecurityVirtualization

The Changing World of Service Provider CPE

May 31, 2017 — by Mike O'Malley0

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Recently I spoke on security in Austin at the Big Communications Event, where Verizon announced their uCPE (Universal Customer Premise Equipment) platform. Notably, they are choosing a white box platform from Adva running Openstack on a generic Linux server with a KVM hypervisor. Verizon’s new platform will enable them to deploy the device as a generic piece of NVFi to host any VNF in this generic Linux/KVM/Openstack environment. If successful, this gives Verizon huge flexibility to configure and deploy new services completely remotely via SW and remove one of the major cost drivers of Carriers: deployment and maintenance of CPE.

DDoSSecurity

How OnlineTech Stayed Ahead of the Cyber-Threat Curve

November 13, 2015 — by Ben Desjardins0

I live relatively close to Ashburn, Virginia, which you may know is a major exchange point for the Internet. Our area has gone through phases of development over the past 15-20 years that I’ve lived in there, starting with an explosion of residential development (which we can thank in large part for our notoriously bad traffic). But more recently I’ve noticed a shift in the development and construction within the region. Rarely does a week pass now where I don’t notice a new area being cleared for significant construction.

SDNSecurity

Why You Should Plan Now for SDN-Enabled Network Security

October 14, 2015 — by Louis Scialabba0

Software Defined Networking (SDN) is a hot topic for carriers and most service providers are somewhere in the process of figuring out how to take advantage of this technology.  SDN’s design can help to overcome the network challenges that accompanied the explosive growth of video, mobility and cloud services. Major Tier 1 telecoms across the globe are already implementing capabilities to reduce costs and add more flexibly to their managed services.

DDoSSecurity

Poor Application Attack Visibility is a Major Threat to Carrier Network Security

August 10, 2015 — by Louis Scialabba0

If you own, operate, or even consume a carrier-grade communications network, it’s a safe bet you are under attack right now.  Attack motivations and attack tactics may vary, but one consistency is that high profile, sophisticated attacks on carrier networks are increasing – in both number and severity.  Attackers are getting in and causing slow-downs in network speed and performance, service outages and worse.

PhishingSecurity

The New Face of Social Engineering and Fraud

May 28, 2014 — by David Hobbs4

Nearly every one of us has had some sort of social engineering or "Phishing" scam attempted on us and some of us, unfortunately, have even learned the lessons from the scam the hard way. I know how excited I was the first time somebody wanted to share $8M dollars with me from my long lost Uncle Frederick Hobbs IV, heir to the estate of the late Frederick the Great or some other nonsense. I immediately daydreamed about what color the new cool car I would buy with cash would be.