5G is the latest iteration on the International Telecommunication Union’s (ITU) high speed, wireless Wide Area Network (WAN) standard. The new networking option boosts performance, lowers latency, and more easily supports edge devices than its predecessors. However, the emerging WAN is not perfect, and its security features are one area that OEMs need to examine as they map out their 5G plans.

5G has been in development since July 2016. Products and network services are starting to roll out, and companies are beginning to deploy these solutions, which have a bright future. In fact, 5G private networks revenue is expected to grow from $1.6 billion in 2021 to $65 billion in 2030, a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 60.1%, according to ABI Research.

5G Creates New Network Security Hurdles

But the new networking option creates challenges as well as opportunities. Network security is one area of concern for a few reasons.

  • The job of safeguarding information is more challenging with 5G. The possible attack surface becomes wider as bandwidth grows and larger volumes of data are moved.
  • In addition, 5G was designed to support Internet of Thing devices. Many of these new endpoints have little to no inherent security.

Consequently, hardware engineering managers, system architects, engineering managers, and product managers need to be sure that their network system safeguards all of the data it generates, stores, and moves at every one of its entry and exit points. A tall order.

In comparison, criminals only must find a small hole in a cyber defense system to be successful. They are constantly probing for such holes because cybercrime has become a large, lucrative, and growing business. Compounding the problem, the individuals attacking your systems are sophisticated; many have advanced degrees in computer science from the world’s most prestigious universities.

So, make no mistake; nowadays, corporate Information is under constant attack. In fact, Dan Schulman, CEO of PayPal, found that the typical American business is attacked about 4 million times a year while financial services companies are targeted over a billion times annually.

State-Sponsored Cyberattacks – Vulnerabilities Increase with 5G

One well-known example of a State-sponsored cyberattack that became news in October of 2018 is when Bloomberg uncovered a state-sponsored network hack enabled through ‘off-the-shelf’ Far East built network appliances. This attack exposed confidential data from more than thirty leading US based technology companies. (https://bit.ly/TinyChip)

With cyberattacks increasing, news cyberattacks in the media provide a timeline of ongoing threats within every market that uses or shares data. Banking and finance have been hit especially hard with threats on financial investors and bank members’ data. In April of 2021, U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell noted that cyberattacks were the biggest risk for financial institutions. (https://reut.rs/2WYGM2g) The risks continue to impact financial institutions with news of continued cyberattacks.

The Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), an agency in the Department of Homeland Security publishes recommendations and tips on preventing cyberattacks. Updated June 30, 2020, Security Tip ST18-001 notes that validating the integrity of hardware and software can improve the security of network infrastructure devices. Moreover, CISA recommends resellers to enforce integrity checks of the supply chain to validate hardware and software authenticity. (Security tip: https://us-cert.cisa.gov/ncas/tips/ST18-001)

Find the Right Embedded System

Consequently, it becomes vital for infrastructure designers and appliance buyers to understand how their underlying network equipment enhances or inhibits deployment of stout security features, such as those from Interface Masters.

Recently, where the device is built has become an important consideration. Many hardware components have been outsourced across the globe, and some of the assembly sites are known to put their own national interests ahead of what is best for the customer. A better option is US designed and manufactured networking appliances.

Also, an embedded system needs a robust operating system, ideally a standardized one like the popular Linux OS, which runs on Interface Masters’ Tahoe 2624. The device’s application software must provide effective control, accountability, and security. Such hardware needs to run secure customer images.

Tamper-Evident Intrusion-Resistant Networking Solutions

Additional items to look for in a system is compliances with standards, such as the Federal Information Processing Standards’ (FIPS) 140-3, level 2 and level 3 specifications, which are often required for federal deployments, as well as the design and manufacture location of the appliance. Interface Masters secure US designed and manufactured solutions enable our customers to scale faster and rapidly deploy their systems on Interface Masters hardware.

Finally, an embedded appliance’s hardware security module should include encryption functions that protect all data stored on the system and ensure that tampering with customer information does not take place. One example is the Interface Masters’ Tahoe 8830 appliance.

5G is an emerging WAN networking option that delivers needed bandwidth and support for IoT. However, the new network option increases enterprise security concerns. As a result, infrastructure designers and appliance buyers need to dig into system specifications and be sure that their embedded network hardware enhances rather than diminishes their security profile.

Designed and Manufactured in the United States / About Us

Interface Masters is an OEM hardware solutions provider. For over 25 years, Interface Masters Technologies has provided custom and off-the-shelf innovative networking hardware solutions to OEMs, Fortune 100, and startup companies. Headquartered in Silicon Valley, our U.S.A-designed and manufactured solutions enable our OEM customers to scale faster and rapidly deploy their solutions. Based on MIPS, ARM, PowerPC, Intel x86 processors, AMD EPYC II processors, and switch fabrics up to 12.8T, Interface Masters appliance models enable OEMs to significantly reduce time-to-market. Our solutions are reliable, pre-tested, pre-integrated, long-life appliances that meet the most challenging networking requirements. Learn about Interface Masters: www.interfacemasters.com.

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