The Global mobile Suppliers Association (GSA), today issued a 5G Security Primer whitepaper, providing the industry with a top-level overview of the security considerations and required approaches necessary for securing next generation networks. 5G is expected to see huge growth in both the number of different types of applications, as well as the volume and diversity of devices that will connect to the network. These two factors have the effect of broadening the potential “attack surface” for 5G networks – introducing potential new risks and meaning that security best practice has never been more important. Drawing on research from GSA member vendors and industry security sources, the whitepaper outlines the potential issues as well as architectural approaches to securing 5G networks. It is available for download from The GSA website.
The whitepaper includes detail on trust models and assumptions within 5G networks compared to their LTE counterparts. It also outlines how 5G’s architecture and features enhance security including: Service-Based Architecture (SBA) and network slicing, Authentication, Identity Management and Privacy, Security Assurance, Inter-operator Security and Signalling Protection, the role of multi-access edge computing (MEC), the potential security impact on user experience and the hardware protection of endpoints, servers. Finally, it also considers approaches to standardization and future developments in the field.
“5G is not just about faster speeds, it’s also about an order of magnitude increase in the number of connected devices and potential applications. This significantly increases the potential attack surface, and means that adopting security best practice will be critical to building models of trust between the parties using and supplying 5G networks,” said Joe Barrett, President of the GSA. “Drawing on broad research and experience of our membership, this whitepaper provides a primer for the industry to highlight the challenges and encourage secure thinking to be central to network design and implementation.”