Network security

5G: FG charges NCC on network security

…says technology is breach-prone

The Federal Government has advised the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) to ensure that adequate security measures are in place ahead of the rollout of 5G in the country.

According to the country’s 5G policy recently launched by President Muhammadu Buhari, this has become imperative as the technology will be used to power industries.

FG, in the policy document, noted that 5G networks are a significant upgrade to existing technologies and offer improved and more beneficial use cases for society, as they will support higher capacity connections for consumers and different industries.

He stressed, however, that the new technology would require more security to prevent cyberattacks on networks. “5G networks are facilitating the transition from centralized hardware-centric switching to distributed switching using software-defined digital routing.

“As such, greater attention should be given to the design, deployment configuration and maintenance of 5G networks to ensure true end-to-end cybersecurity,” the policy states.

“In line with this, NCC must ensure that the deployment of the 5G network in Nigeria aligns with global best practices in the field of international security. The deployment must also comply with relevant standards such as the NESAS (Network Equipment Security Assurance Scheme).

“As discussed earlier, 5G relies on software and cloud infrastructure to ‘virtualize’ network functions. Cloud services will play a very critical role in 5G and network cloudification and virtualization capabilities will open up a myriad of new possibilities for managing and securing networks.

“A software-defined network is an example of the technologies that can facilitate the creation of bespoke virtual environments that allow the application of security controls appropriate to the data and devices used in this context, in addition to complying with the standards of relevant security. compliance with the Nigeria Cloud Computing Policy,” the government said.

According to the policy, the 5G security risk management plan would include specific roles to be played by NCC under the supervision of the Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy.

NCC has therefore been mandated to work with relevant agencies to access risks and identify key security issues; promote secure and reliable 5G infrastructure by regularly assessing national economic security and other risks to such infrastructure, including defining and maintaining fundamental security principles relevant to such infrastructure.

The telecommunications regulator has also been mandated to “monitor economic national security and fundamental security principles, which include best practices in cybersecurity, supply chain ecosystem management and public safety for the country’s 5G infrastructure and other risks posed by vulnerabilities and cyber threats to 5G infrastructure for proactive action; and leverage relevant security reports to address potential and operational risks that may emanate from different aspects of the shotsend 5G network and services.

NCC successfully auctioned 3.5 GHz spectrum for 5G deployment in December last year, setting the stage for deployment later this year. The two spectrum license winners, MTN Nigeria and Mafab Communications are expected to make payment in February to seal their acquisition of the license.

Meanwhile, the Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON) has ruled out the possibility of 5G technology interfering with flights in Nigeria.

Responding to concerns induced by recent development in the US where flights have been canceled due to 5G installations, ALTON said the context in Nigeria is different.

“The guard band that exists between spectrum frequencies allocated by NCC for 5G services and those allocated to the aviation industry remains in the 400 MHz region, in accordance with guidelines instituted by the National Frequency Management Council (NFMC), an agency government responsible for sectoral allocation, spectrum and NCC.

“This means that there is no more risk of interference with 5G networks than with any of the existing transmissions taking place in frequencies adjacent to those used by radio altimeters,” the company said. ‘association.


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