Experts have been talking about 5G for years. Now it’s finally upon us. Countries like South Korea and China have already deployed the technology in select cities. India’s largest carrier, Vodafone, is already beta-testing 5G services services to simultaneously release handsets and the lightning-fast service by early 2020. 5G opens a world of possibilities that will redefine the role of technology in our lives. However, with so many new data points, 5G does present several potential cyber threats. Users need to be aware of these new threats and what steps they should take to get their data safe.
By: David Walker
5G: It’s More than Fast Phone Service
Everyday smartphone users tend to focus on download speeds when they think about 5G technology. While it will enable amazing speeds allowing you stream 4K movies, play HD games, 5G technology unlocks a whole lot more than entertainment experiences.
5G and the Internet-of-Things (IoT) go together hand in hand. In short, the IoT is the network of internet-connected devices. This includes home devices, from smart lights and thermostats to self-driving cars, AI, and new groundbreaking technologies. All of these devices can (and often are) connected to the internet.
While this will give companies and developers unprecedented abilities to harness the power of new tech, it also creates new vulnerabilities. Essentially, every device connected to the internet is susceptible to a cyber attack.
So Can Somebody Hack My Toaster?
Once everything becomes a part of the IoT, then yes. Hacking a toaster isn’t a big problem. It’s never going to contain sensitive data or anything for you to be concerned about. However, cybersecurity experts worry about products like these being a Trojan Horse. Since these devices aren’t made with the highest levels of security, it’s easy for hackers to gain access to them.
While toasters or refrigerators may not contain anything significant, they can become entry points for hackers to get into your home network. Once they’re in, they can then access your computer, smartphone, and other devices to steal your personal information like credit card details, usernames, passwords, etc.
Businesses Will Face Serious Threats
5G will revolutionize the way we do business. Through the massive number of network connections, productivity and communication will be greatly facilitated. However, the numerous endpoints likewise provide holes for attackers to exploit. Data scientists have already found flaws in 5G security protocols that could allow hackers to steal data.
Moreover, 5G can play a significant role in increasing the efficacy of Distributed Denial of Services (DDoS) attacks. DDoS attacks are already one of the biggest cybersecurity threats. They work by overwhelming a server through multiple systems that choke the bandwidth and resources of the target. These types of hacks have brought down even some of the largest IT companies. Through the IoT technology, hackers can utilize the incredible array of connected devices to amplify the power of these attacks, making them even more destructive towards enterprises and individual users alike.
How Can Users Stay Safe with 5G Technology
5G is the future. Technology firm Ericson estimates that by 2024, 5G tech will encompass 1.9 billion users. So now is a good time to start getting ready and take the right security precautions. Many of the cybersecurity strategies you should already be following will still apply. Since 5G revolves around the internet, it’s essential to protect your network connection before anything else.
The best way to protect yourself online is by using a VPN. A VPN, or virtual private network, protects your internet connection through the latest encryption technology. It also anonymizes your IP address, so should criminals compromise your connection, they would not be able to trace it back to your device.
Many IoT devices are compatible with direct VPN installation. But you can also install a VPN – nordvpn.com/servers/india – directly to your router to protect all outgoing connections. If you live in India, VPNs that work there are easy to find. So make sure to shop around for the best one.
Staying Safe in the 5G Revolution
5G technology will soon be everywhere. From self-driving cars to AI, wearable technology, and so much more, it truly will revolutionize our lives. As with any new technology, however, there are some risks to users. With all these entry points, there will be an almost infinite amount of potential security vulnerabilities that hackers can exploit. However, when you protect your connection with a VPN, you can be sure that your tech will be safe.
The author is a blogger and researcher specializing in cyber security topics