5G is coming within the next year. It will be so fast that it will make current fibre broadband speeds positively snail-like.
That’s all good news, isn’t it?
It is, but that’s only half the story. What aspect of the 5G rollout could be bad news? Read on.
5G – Mobile on Steroids
The first-ever cars were limited to walking pace – You had to have someone walking in front of the car! Those cars didn’t need anti-lock braking systems.
Early cars had no steering locks, cruise control or central locking. Today’s cars include all manners of security features that 1920s drivers never even dreamt of.
Cellular Communications in 2020
5G will have lower latency than 4G networks, meaning video callers and gamers will not notice any lag at all. Networks will also be able to support more devices without slowing to the speed of a Nokia NK 402.
Businesses will increasingly use remote employees who will communicate with their offices over 5G networks. Your data such as customer orders and credit details will all be there coming over the air for hackers to steal or destroy.
Hide Phone IMSI Details
Employees’ international mobile subscriber identities (IMSIs) are the key to hacking any device.
Various parties from hackers to government agencies can set up fake cell towers that allow them to inject spyware into users’ phones when they connect. There is no way to tell a fake tower from a real one.
FirstPoint Mobile Guard offers a service that protects phones and any SIM-based device from network-level threats, including fake cell towers, location tracking, and stingray attacks. It works by hiding the IMSI, so hackers can’t even see the phone, let alone damage it.
Device users cannot disable the service and have no reason to do so because it has no effect on speed or ease of use. Business owners are able to monitor all protected devices from one virtual dashboard, ensuring total confidence in the integrity of the network and proprietary data.
Most smartphones have 128 or 256-bit encryption built-in as standard: Is that enough?
Most hackers won’t be able to break your encryption, though government agencies could if they really wanted to.
Users are able to disable encryption on their phones and tablets, meaning your company security can be bypassed at the whim of an employee: Not ideal.
Using a virtual private network most of your data tracks around the internet are obscured by encryption, but some are still readable by a hacker because the VPN only encrypts the data after it has reached the VPN server; the path from website to the server is unencrypted.
Users can disable VPN use, again exposing employer data to attack.
BYOD – Good Financially, But Impossible to
Bringing your own device (BYOD) saves companies from spending their a large chunk of their budget on technology, but leaves networks vulnerable to attacks from poorly secured phones, maliciously-designed apps, and employee carelessness.
A company can only make stipulations regarding mobile phone and tablet use if those devices are company-owned. Installed apps need to be strictly controlled, so users do not install apps that take over the phone’s camera or microphone to the detriment of the company’s security.
Phones have become ubiquitous in every home, and if 2-year old children are using pre-school apps, or teens are using social media apps on a parent’s phone that also has access to business data, you have a data breach in the making that could destroy your company.
Allowing employees to use their own phones to log onto your network is an impossible situation that might save a few hundred pounds, but at an inestimable cost of customer confidence if malware or loss of an unencrypted phone results in loss of customer or company data.
Early mobile phones used first-generation technology that allowed for speeds of up to 2.4Kb/s. 3G phones support speeds of 2Mb/s (2,000Kb/s), and 4G offers 1Gb/s (1,000.000Kb/s).
Things are speeding up – 5G promises 20Gb/s, and it’s coming next year. 5G phones need extra security features, and most do not come as standard. Fingerprint scanning and facial recognition are valuable, but securing your physical phone is only a tiny part of the battle when everything you input or receive comes over the airwaves and is open to interception by hackers.
What’s the best way to reduce risks arising from 5G phone use?
- Install network-level protection for all devices
- Allow employees to choose their work phones from an approved list,
but buy them so they belong to the company
- Disable employees’ ability to turn off encryption and VPN use
- Disable employees’ ability to install apps
It is best to use every security enhancement that is available because your business depends on keeping its information private.