5G holds the promise that it would help to improve an organisation's cyber resilience (Part 2)

5G has been on everyone's lips for the past few years and it only came into prominence of late owing to the Huawei saga where nearly the whole western world stopped their telcos from purchasing telecom equipments from Huawei, fearing that Huawei will plant malware in their equipment and the Chinese government can then spied on the countries that installed their equipment.


It is publicly known that Huawei is the front runner in the tendering for telecom equipment called by telcos in almost every of the western countries.

 

And it is publicly acknowledged that Huawei has built up a strong lead in 5G technology and development as compared to their competitors. (source: Dexter Thillien, a senior tech analyst at research firm Fitch Solutions). 


According to iPlytics, a market intelligence firm, Huawei holds the most patents on 5G and they contributed the most to the efforts to established an international standard for 5G.

Technical Contributions to the 5G standard. (source: iPlytics)

By banning / stopping their telcos from buying their equipment from Huawei, these telcos would have to source for alternative suppliers. If the competitors are behind Huawei in 5G development, these countries could potentially find themselves a year or two behind in terms of utilising and getting the benefits and returns from the tremendous potential that 5G could offer. Already, GSMA, an association representing more than 750 carriers globally, wrote to EU on 14 Feb 2019 warning that limiting or stalling the deployment of 5G or requiring changes to existing 4G infrastructure, risks leaving European consumers and businesses behind.

When 5G is expected to rollout around the world. (source: Eurasia Group)
  1. Non standalone 5G involves additions to a 4G network, mostly using existing network infrastructure

  2. Standalone 5G requires major investments in new infrastructure

In the cybersecurity field, 5G hold the promise that increased speed, high capacity etc allowing greater development in artificial intelligence would allow algorithms to be developed to have the ability to detect and mitigate threats, authenticate users, and practice good network hygiene. Security, theoretically will be more imbedded and dynamic in 5G. The positives from this is supposed to outweigh the negatives where with increased speed and higher capacity, more devices will be added, increasing the attack surface for cyber criminals. 


In summary, countries that delayed or are slow in adopting and implementing 5G would continue to use existing available tools to fight increasing and greater cyber threats while organisations in countries who are actively into 5G would have more superior and powerful tools to mitigate cyber risks.

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