Ruchir Shukla, MD, SafeHouse Tech

5G could pose a major cybersecurity risk: Ruchir Shukla, MD, SafeHouse Tech

Rucir Shukla is the Managing Director at Safe house Tech, an Indian-Israeli cyber security company. Over the past 5 years, he has played a pivotal role in accelerating the company’s growth and building sustainable sales and operational channels for SafeHouse in India, spreading the company’s reach to actively sell in over 700 Indian cities and registering over 100 crore worth of product sales in less than 2 years. Ruchir holds a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree from IIT Kharagpur. In an interaction with Times of India Tech-Gadgets Now, Shah talks about the security risks that 5G presents and what smartphone users as well as enterprises can do.

Q. What is the biggest risk posed by 5G?
With the launch of 5G network in India, the internet speed will be significantly fast with low latency resulting in more and more internet access. However, it will also create some serious security vulnerabilities in the form of cyber threats such as Denial of Service, massive botnet attacks, etc. Considering that 5G architecture is a new development in the industry, it can bring a host of network attacks we may not be aware of.

As excited as we are to experience fast internet, cybercriminals will also use the high speed of 5G to innovate and execute larger network attacks and spread malware faster than ever before. Another aspect here is our increasing dependence on IoT devices, starting from our smart watches to household appliances like refrigerators and air conditioners, we have moved to using smart devices without knowing the potential risks and security loopholes through which attackers/criminals cyber can have access. While 5G will be a driving change in IoT as more and more devices will be connected, it would also lead to more security breaches. The advent of 5G could pose a cybersecurity risk due to the lack of encryption on the network connection leading to the exposure of device details and enabling hackers to easily intercept data for device-specific IoT-focused attacks. 5G security is cumbersome, would require protection at the core network, endpoints, and network-attached devices. Therefore, it is essential that companies build different approaches to end-to-end security not only for enterprises, but also for individual users.

Another risk I foresee is that attackers could use 5G-related offers or services to conduct phishing or OTP scams by sending fake emails or messages claiming to offer an upgrade from 4G to 5G. These messages may use fake logos and branding to appear legitimate, and may include links or attachments designed to trick the victim into providing sensitive information or installing malware.

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Question. What do you think phone companies should do to protect users?
While advanced connectivity and new architecture will boost IoT in telecom, telcos will also face risks and vulnerabilities they may not know how to deal with. 5G will create more security concerns leading telecom companies to change their strategies to ensure maximum network security for consumers. These concerns will require a shift toward more automated security processes, orchestration capabilities, security-centric methodologies, and flexible security services. These companies should also consider a different approach focused on security with more improvements than 4G as they plan their transformation to 5G. Needless to say, 5G networks will bring new security requirements and to cope with these, telcos will have to step up and support policy makers as and when required.

Another important aspect for telcos is the use of DevSecOps with more emphasis on security and operational capabilities. This will help telecom companies to establish IT concepts for network security and a more secure software development approach. In addition, telecom companies can also work with governments and other organizations to develop and implement industry-wide standards and best practices for 5G security. This can help ensure that all companies are taking steps to protect themselves from potential threats and that the overall 5G ecosystem is secure.

In general, defending against 5G threats it will require a combination of technical measures, industry collaboration and continued vigilance to ensure that the benefits of 5G technology can be realized without putting user data and privacy at risk.

Q. Any do’s and don’ts that you think users should follow?
Keep your devices and software up to date: Don’t ignore device updates. Perform timely updates to ensure you have the latest security patches and features, which can help protect against known vulnerabilities.

Use a reputable security solution: This will help protect your devices from malware, block malicious websites for you, identify apps that may be suspicious or potentially harmful, and provide advance warnings to download them. Moreover, it will give you a safe browsing experience and protect you from scams and other online threats. Be careful when clicking on links and installing programs or applications: Do not click on links or download files, applications and software from sources you do not trust, as they may be malicious. There is a chance that your device gets infected with malware and causes a number of problems like crashing your device and stealing your personal data.

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Don’t use public WiFi networks without protection: Public WiFi networks are often insecure, so it’s important to use a VPN or other security measures when using them. The encrypted VPN-enabled connection will protect your data from interception by hackers.
Use longer passwords: Avoid using weak or easily guessable passwords for your accounts and devices, as they can be easily hacked. Instead, use strong passwords with a mix of letters, numbers and special characters. Refrain from using obvious things like name, date of birth or common words that can be guessed.

Don’t fall for ‘too good to be true’ offers: Be wary of offers that seem unbelievable. If someone offers you a free 5G upgrade or multiple 5G services, be sure to verify the offer before giving them any personal information or money.

Question. What types of threats do you see related to 5G connectivity?
As 5G networks are expected to be faster and more efficient than previous generations of mobile technology, they will enable new applications and services that were not possible before. This means that 5G networks are likely to be a target for cyber attackers looking to exploit vulnerabilities in the technology.

Some of the potential threats and challenges associated with 5G networks include

Malware and ransomware attacks: As 5G networks become more widely adopted, they are likely to be targeted by malware and ransomware attacks. These attacks can compromise the security of the network and its users, leading to data breaches and other security incidents. With 5G, a cybercriminal can gain access to a large number of compromised devices (such as smartphones or smart home devices) to quickly spread malware or ransomware across a network ultimately allowing the attacker to infect a large number equipment in a short time. potentially causing widespread disruption and damage.

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DDoS attacks: 5G technology has the potential to significantly increase the speed and capacity of wireless networks. This increased speed and capacity can make it easier for attackers to launch large-scale DDoS attacks. For example, with 5G, an attacker could potentially use a large number of connected devices (such as smartphones or smart home devices) to generate massive amounts of traffic and defeat a website or online service. This may make it difficult for the targeted website or service to function properly and may cause significant disruption. Attackers can use advanced techniques to bypass security measures and launch attacks that are harder to detect and defend against.

Man-in-the-middle attacks: With 5G, an attacker can use new techniques to intercept and manipulate data transmitted over the network. This can allow an attacker to read, modify or even impersonate one of the parties involved in the communication, potentially leading to the theft of sensitive information or the compromise of systems and networks. Additionally, the increased speed and capacity of 5G networks may also make it easier for attackers to launch more sophisticated MitM attacks.

Q. How do you see the cyber security landscape in the country?
Incidents of cybercrime in general are on the rise and the arrival of 5G in India will increase the cases considering that the 5G architecture is relatively new in India and will open the doors for cyber attacks. As we are inventing, cybercriminals are also inventing new ways to access our data and the launch of 5G is a golden opportunity for them as 5G will connect everything — people, machines and devices.

Currently, India has 658 million internet users and 600 million smartphone users, the number is expected to grow exponentially in the coming years making mobile security a must for everyone. Mobile security apps have a number of features that secure your phone’s data, including sensitive information and other data stored on it. One of the main benefits of installing a mobile security app is real-time protection and digital security against mobile security risks.

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