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5G and AI to heightened cybersecurity risks

An overwhelming majority of cybersecurity and risk management leaders believe that developments in 5G wireless technology will create cybersecurity challenges for their organisations.

A report from Information Risk Management found that the top three 5G-related concerns are greater risk of attacks on Internet of Things (IoT) networks, a wider attack surface and a lack of security by design in 5G hardware and firmware.

The report, titled Risky Business, found that eighty-three percent of survey respondents said 5G developments will create cybersecurity challenges for their organisations, suggesting that the new technology will bring heightened risks.

The report warns that, “The vulnerabilities in 5G appear to go beyond wireless, introducing risks around virtualised and cloud native infrastructure.”

Artificial intelligence (AI) is also likely to have an impact on companies cybersecurity strategies as AI systems are integrated into core enterprise security functions.

According to the report AI in cybersecurity is a 'double-edged sword', as it can provide many companies with the tools to detect fraudulent activity, but it is inevitably a tool being used by cybercriminals to carry out even more sophisticated attacks.

In August, for example, the Wall Street Journal reported that criminals using AI-based software had successfully mimicked a German CEO’s voice and had duped the head of a UK subsidiary into sending $243,000 to a fraudulent account. It is being described as the world’s first publicly known cyberattack to use AI.

It appears that while AI and 5G companies will benefit from these technologies, there is a lack of awareness when it comes to the security implications and that can have far reaching consequences.

At best it might mean a fine, at worst it could provide a fatal blow to the bottom line.

Enterprises need to work closely with their cybersecurity teams to design and develop 5G and AI products that place cybersecurity front and center.

Neil Tyler

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