A Complete Guide To 5G Network Security

Every telecom network aspect consists of three planes, each of which is responsible for monitoring a different type of traffic. The control plane carries the signaling traffic, the user plane handles the payload traffic, and the management plane is in charge of administrative traffic. In terms of network security, each of the three planes can be vulnerable to different threats. There are also hazards that can harm all three planes at the same time. There is a need for security solutions that secure all aspects of the 5G network. From the standpoint of the user, 5G is fundamentally different from previous mobile generations. It is confronted with even more serious dangers that could threaten the business operations that leverage it including machinery, robots, and transportation systems.

5G is Worlds Ahead of 4G 

By 2035, 5G technology could generate 22.3 million jobs and $13.2 trillion in worldwide economic growth Machine-to-machine communication, which 5G enables, is widely expected to become 5G’s strategic differentiator and unique selling feature in the long run. 5G networks will be key infrastructures for digitization, automation, and connecting to revolutionary business processes, such as automation. As a result, there is a substantial amount of money at stake, as well as substantial risks if security is compromised.

Security and Privacy Threats under 5G 

IoT, Industry 4.0, cloud, internet services, digitization, and supporting technology are all part of the 5G ecosystem. Security and privacy issues continue to diminish the high expectations from citizens and governments alike. Information security is a major worry for businesses embarking on a digital transformation journey. It’s crucial that the Internet of Things (IoT) is safe from the beginning and security breaches are minimised to a large extent. Protecting personal information, business-sensitive data, and vital infrastructure is important. 5G network security regulators must strike a delicate balance between preserving personal privacy, ensuring national security, promoting economic progress, and benefiting society as a whole.

5G and End-to-end Encryption 

With the advent of IMSI encryption in 5G, a new age of network security begins. All data sent over a 5G radio network is encrypted, integrity-protected, and subject to mutual authentication, such as device-to-network. End-to-end encryption is an important tool, but it is only one of many that are required to secure a system’s security. 5G’s trustworthiness stems not only from a set of technological security characteristics, but also from system design principles, implementation concerns, and network operations on a day-to-day basis. Telecommunication networks, on the other hand, do not provide end-to-end connection for all services. To be more explicit, mass-market IoT devices will only be able to connect to the internet through telecommunication networks. These devices must still have an over-the-top identity management system, end-to-end security solutions (between the device and the internet server), and assure their own unique application security.

Principles of Secure by Design 

Since multiple parties play a role in securing the 5G network, the 5G standards development has adopted Secure by Design principles. They include:

  • Mutual Authentication is used: Assurance that the sender and recipient have developed a trust connection and that the end-to-end relationship is secure.
  • A seemingly “open” network: Taking away any safety assumptions from the overlying products or processes
  • An admission that any link might be tapped: Enforcing encryption of inter/intra-network communication, ensuring that intercepted encrypted data is useless.

Subscriber and Device Protection 

Unlike previous generations of mobile systems, 5G improves confidentiality and integrity of user and device data. This is possible because 5G incorporates a myriad of security features.

  • Confidentiality: The initial non-access stratum (NAS) messages between the device and the network are kept private. As a result, conventional attack approaches for tracing user equipment (UE) across the radio interface are no longer possible, defending against man in the middle (MITM) and false base station (Stingray/IMSI catcher) threats.
  • Home Control: 5G introduces a security feature known as home control. After the home network has validated the authentication state of the device in the visited network, the final device authentication to the visited network is performed. This innovation will help operators avoid various sorts of roaming fraud that have previously inhibited them, as well as support the operator’s needs to correctly authenticate devices to the services.
  • Unified Authentication: Allows 5G networks to handle previously unmanaged and unprotected connections by supporting unified authentication across various access network types, such as WLAN. This includes the ability for the UE to re-authenticate itself when it switches between access or serving networks.
  • Data and Privacy Protection: User plane integrity checking is introduced, guaranteeing that user traffic is not tampered with while in transit. Enhances privacy protection by concealing subscriber identification with public/private key pairs (anchor keys) and generate keys used across the service structure


SEPP (Secure Edge Protection Proxy) allows 5G networks to connect securely. For all 5G interconnect roaming messages, the SEPP ensures end-to-end secrecy and/or integrity between the source and destination networks. The 5G network security architecture will be service-based, which means that key network operations could be handled by services outside of the operator network, such as the cloud. This is a significant departure from traditional core network security rules, but it allows the operator to take advantage of virtualization technology like Containerisation. Containerisation is a growing virtualization technology at the OS level. The container’s access to physical resources, including CPU, storage, and memory, is limited by the host OS, thus a single container cannot utilize all of the host’s physical resources. As a result, the platform’s vulnerability to availability threats is reduced.

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