People need to be made more aware of 5G rollout threats

5G rollout 19 AprilAnna Collard, senior vice-president content strategy and evangelist at KnowBe4 AFRICA, has highlighted that the people need to be made aware of the threats of the oncoming rollout of 5G – a technology that will be transformative for mobility, but also introduces some new security vulnerabilities

5G technology presents a massive opportunity for the mobile industry to enhance the network as well as its security and will significantly improve security over legacy networks which is very much needed considering that there are expected to be around 1.8 billion connections on 5G by 2025,” she explained. 

“But we have to keep in mind that traditionally, operators used proprietary protocols for network management and hackers had to have specific understanding of these protocols to break them. Now, with 5G, they are moving towards a P-based protocol set, which is the same technology used on the internet.”

“There is an increasing number of reports on the increased risks that come with 5G and the mobile workforce,” said Collard. “These are matched by the increased number of cyber-attacks that are targeting mobile workers and the devices that they use. A recent example is the FluBot malware. This has caused mayhem on Android devices because it spreads easily and its attack vector – messages – are easily mistaken for the real thing.”

The FluBot mobile malware operates just like the flu. It infects the device using a blended attack of smishing using an SMS or WhatsApp message followed by a voicemail. Users click on the link, download the malware and then their systems are not only compromised, but used as a platform from which to inundate their contacts with the virus. It is fast, and so convincing that even sophisticated users fall prey to it.

“Companies need to make sure that users understand why keeping your apps and Operating Systems updated is so important and that jailbreaking or rooting your devices breaks all of the security on them,” said Collard. “They have to keep people up to date on the latest threats and how to identify them. It is the same training and education that should be entrenched within the business, but applied across every user, location, device and platform.”

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