Network security

5G network security remains highly critical to business confidence in APAC

Will we manage to solve the security problems with 5G, before 5G networks become commonplace? (Photo by Hector RETAMAL / AFP)

It will be especially important for organizations in the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region to be able to rely on 5G security, even as the world increasingly depends on wireless internet networks and devices to communicate and perform tasks online. whether in the workplace or from remote locations.

5G, so named because it is the fifth generation mobile network, is a telecommunications technology standard that first appeared in 2016 that promises superior performance and improved efficiency in mobile data transfer, reliability, connectivity and user experience.

5G deployments around APAC

5G began a global rollout in late 2018 and has seen an influx of interest in many countries, including emerging economies in the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region.

According to ABI Research, few countries have deployed 5G in Southeast Asia (SEA), let alone 6G technology. Currently, only operators of the Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand began their 5G coverage and services, and even then, only in certain regions of their respective countries, noted Miguel Castaneda, its sector analyst.

Malaysia has been in talks with several 5G players over the past two years and plans to roll out its 5G network in phases by the end of 2021. Recently, Nokia came knocking on Malaysia’s door to offer its 5G services, emphasizing its enhanced security features.

In 2020, 5G was presented as possible savior for asian companies in a post-pandemic APAC, especially when coupled with the increased use of cloud computing for remote work. Demand for 5G services has exploded in APAC’s early adopters in Australia, while carriers worked to upgrade, improve and manage their infrastructure to cope not only with consumers, but critical industry requirements posed by the Covid-19 pandemic.

In terms of widespread commercial deployments, while Chinese domination of 5G rules the world (thanks to market-leading service providers like Huawei and ZTE), other nations have sought to embark on their own 5G efforts. Besides China, Korea has even started working on 6G technology because “it’s never too early to explore 6G technology”.

5G cybersecurity issues

As popular as the technology is, critical safety concerns have been brewing since 2018 (and no, it has nothing to do with microchips, aliens or Covid-19). It is believed that the increased bandwidth offered by 5G coupled with wider access to super-fast connections between devices could allow a larger threat surface for attackers.

This increases the ability of hackers to carry out attacks more effectively, so users and devices outside of the office will be more vulnerable than ever. These attacks, such as volumetric “distributed denial of service” (or DDoS) attacks, will only grow in frequency and sophistication.

During a virtual briefing held last December, Palo Alto Networks Vice President and Regional Director of Security for Asia-Pacific (APAC) and Japan, Sean Duca, said 5G cyberattacks are still currently low due to the low availability of 5G.

However, several 5G proof-of-concept attacks “have forced users to switch from 5G networks to 4G networks, highlighting the importance of 4G security even as we enter the 5G era. In Asia-Pacific, South Korea has reportedly begun work on strengthen its 5G security strategy, according to Herald of Korea.

Last year, TechHQ reported on several 5G security areas CIOs should consider as businesses prepare for the 5G revolution – and without the proper cybersecurity protection implemented, this could prove very costly for businesses.

The 5G security market continues to grow

Fortunately, there is a growing global market for 5G security – at 44.5% CAGR (2020 – 2026), in fact. Global research firm Future Market Research (MRFM) found that the said market is expected to be valued at over US$5 billion during the forecast period.

The MRFM report has segmented the 5G security market into components, network component security, architecture, end user, deployment type, vertical, and region. Solutions include data loss prevention, next-generation firewall, antivirus/antimalware, security gateway, DDoS protection, sandboxing, and others like network access control, vulnerability assessment and penetration testing for networks.

While North America still dominates the global 5G security market, APAC will see the fastest growth. This rapid growth in Asia-Pacific is attributed to increasing investment in telecommunications infrastructure and digital transformation in Greater Asia and India.

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