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DDoS – with 5G come questions of security

5G Security

5G is arriving at pace and most of what we hear is the good news. But it brings concerns, too, foremost among them questions of security.

As 5G networks roll out, we all know the benefits: faster data speeds, lower latency, and an ever more connected world among them. That’s the good news. On the other side of the coin, there are some concerns at the forefront of which are questions of security.

This isn’t entirely surprising. The infrastructure of 5G networks is both wide and complex; it’s designed to support an ever-growing number of connected devices and a greater range of network elements. That means the attack surface that must be protected has expanded in comparison to previous network generations. There’s also the fact that 5G componentry is essentially decentralized in favour of a distributed network architecture. That makes implementing consistent security across the entire network far more challenging.

Of course, there are plenty of other areas of concern, in particular Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks.

DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attacks are a problem

Distributed Denial of Service attacks have the potential to disrupt critical services. They’re increasingly gaining attention in the security domain because they pose particular challenges specific to 5G networks, which may be more vulnerable to such threats than previous network generations. For example:

  • Attackers can use 5Gs increased bandwidth to overwhelm network resources leading to significant disruptions
  • Because 5G networks are designed to provide low-latency connectivity, even short-lived DDoS attacks can rapidly be disruptive.
  • With Mobile Edge Computing (MEC) processing data closer to the network edge in 5G, new attack surfaces are created with MEC resources used to amplify DDoS attacks.
  • 5G networks leverage AI and automation in various ways and can use these technologies to automate DDoS attacks. This makes them more sophisticated and harder to detect.


The nub of the problem may lie in 5Gs broader attack surface, the result of a technology designed to support an enormous number of devices and services ranging from smart services including IoT to self-driving cars, smart city infrastructure, and more. This means there are inevitably a greater number of potential entry points that attackers can target, thus facilitating the launch of large-scale threats.

IoT is a specific issue, comprised as it is of billions of devices many of which have, at best, limited security measures in place and can thus be easily compromised. Speed is another problem. As we all know, 5G networks transmit data at extremely high rates. That’s a plus in general terms, but it also means DDoS attacks can occur and escalate very quickly, saturating network resources before an effective response can be issued.

And there’s the use of encryption in 5G networks for privacy and security. Another plus generally, but one that makes identifying and mitigating DDoS attacks in real time more difficult. What to do? Well, for one thing there’s a big opportunity for vendors of security solutions.

5G security: another vendor opportunity in the telco market

For those telco technology vendors, solutions that tackle some or all the security issues noted above have an opportunity in areas like traffic filtering, intrusion detection and prevention, rate limiting, anomaly detection, and more. At eCS we have seen this first-hand. Why not get in touch with us and find out how we can help you to leverage it?

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