NTT DATA UK has announced the completion of a new, first-of-its-kind security assessment model that will support the planning of new 5G networks. The model, created out of the UK Government’s 5G Testbeds and Trials (5GTT) programme, will enable the management of the unique challenges of 5G security across the full lifecycle from standards, to implementation, build and operations.
Following the successful project NTT DATA UK is now working to turn the assessment model into a set of practical tools that can be used to identify potential threats and vulnerabilities during network planning and in operational networks.
NTT DATA UK designed the model in conjunction with the 5GTT’s £10 million 5G security programme – working closely with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and other agencies as part of the security-oriented assessment of phase one of 5GTT.
Globally, NTT DATA has been involved in 5G trials since 2014 and participated in creating 5G standards through ETSI and 3GPP. However, the software-driven nature of 5G means there are likely to be risk factors in real-world deployments that may not have been considered by standards. In particular, software-led implementations and network virtualisation will enable 5G to be deployed at unprecedented scale. With scale comes a broader attack surface, giving adversaries more opportunities to access personal and business data, or to disrupt mission-critical services.
Through the new model, NTT DATA UK is addressing how the risks of software vulnerability and scale will manifest themselves in the specific context of 5G networks. The new model enables all issues and concerns to be mapped in one place across a whole network, providing clear vulnerability scoring on threats. By categorising potential threats based on the immediacy and importance of the risk, clear risk mitigation guidance can be given to network operators and the enterprise sector.
Guillermo Pedraja, Head of Networks, 5G and IoT at NTT DATA UK, commented: “To develop the world-class digital infrastructure that is essential to compete and grow in the modern economy, it is vital to ensure that people have confidence that the UK is a safe place to be online and to do business online. The 5G testbeds are an ideal proving ground to develop the security thinking that next generation networks require.
“NTT DATA UK is uniquely positioned to deliver the security capability that advanced networks require. The new assessment model we have developed will play a leading role in predicting, detecting and managing future security threats, at any scale, ensuring the success of 5G in the UK. The focus is now on operationalising the model through a range of tools, templates and methods that will enable security concerns can be factored into the vendor selection process and in the design, build and operations of 5G networks at the earliest possible stage.”