Published 06 Nov 2019


A new report titled Risky Business by UK-based cybersecurity company Information Risk Management (IRM) has revealed that most leaders in risk management believe that the introduction of 5G wireless technology will bring new cybersecurity challenges to their companies.

Among the concerns about 5G, the three most commonly cited were the lack of “security by design” in 5G hardware and software, a wider surface for attacks to target, and attacks on Internet of Things (IoT) technology.

The study surveyed senior decision-makers in risk management and cybersecurity at 50 worldwide companies between July and September 2019. It covered several prominent sectors, including energy, automotive, transport, software/internet, communications, pharmaceuticals, and the finance/public sector.

The vast majority of respondents (83%) believed that developments in 5G will bring fresh challenges to their companies, probably in terms of greater cybersecurity risks. The report comments about this:

“The acceleration to market of 5G and lack of security considerations are causing concern. The vulnerabilities in 5G appear to go beyond wireless, introducing risks around virtualised and cloud native infrastructure.”

Furthermore, even more respondents (86%) cited artificial intelligence, in terms of incorporating it into core security functions, as something that would likely influence their strategies for cybersecurity in the coming years. In particular, the respondents cited secure user authentication, fraud detection, and network intrusion detection and prevention as possible applications they would consider. Of course, cybercriminals can also take advantage of AI, as the report explains:

“AI in cybersecurity is a double-edged sword. It can provide many companies with the tools to detect fraudulent activity on bank accounts, for example, but it is inevitably a tool being used by cybercriminals to carry out even more sophisticated attacks.”

There have, for example, been documented cases of cybercriminals using a process known as deep faking, where artificial intelligence is used to simulate someone’s voice or appearance, to dupe senior executives into making money transfers. The CEO of IRM, Charles White, warned about the sweeping consequences of not getting to grips with the implications of new 5G and AI technologies. With potential fines for data breaches now being much higher under the General Data Protection Regulation, not to mention the reputational impact, it is vital for enterprises to ensure any new technologies prioritize cybersecurity.

On a brighter note, C-level executives are becoming increasingly aware of cybersecurity challenges. The vast majority (91%) of respondents said this growing awareness was feeding into their decision-making processes. Unfortunately, a poor understanding of the true costs of a cyberattack persists, because decisions about cybersecurity are still often made based on implementation cost.

The progress in technology continues relentlessly, and this can always bring risks as cybercriminals seek to exploit new technologies before they fully mature. Unfortunately, ignoring new technologies is not an option if a business is to maintain a competitive advantage, so precautions need to be taken to secure any new technological innovation. With our managed IT support services and network IT support at Pro-Networks, we can help you safely transition towards new technologies on a secure-by-design basis.


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