While the presenting researchers, Altaf Shaik of the Technical University of Berlin and Kaitiaki Labs and Ravishankar Borgaonkar of SINTEF Digital, noted 5G is a vast improvement over the previous 2G, 3G and 4G networks, 5G does have some vulnerabilities. Among those weaknesses: The two demonstrated how 5G technology is susceptible to mobile network mapping exploit. Their finding revealed it is possible for criminals to use unencrypted data to get information about a device, determine what kind of device it is, and learn the chipmaker, model, operating system, as well identify and locate where a device is located. This is useful information if there is a specific target in mind. The researchers were also able to demonstrate an attack that allowed them to drain the battery of an IoT device.
It’s not just security researchers who are poking holes in security around 5G. The Department of Homeland Security recently released a paper warning of the potential for risk around 5G networks, particularly for military networks, which often use older technologies and capabilities that lag behind those available to business and consumers.
“5G hardware, software, and services provided by untrusted entities could increase the risk of compromise to the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of network assets,” the report said. “Even if U.S. networks are secure, U.S. data that travels overseas through untrusted telecommunication networks is potentially at risk of interception, manipulation, disruption, and destruction.”