Unlike previous generational changes, the 5G rollout will be an evolutionary process–think of it not as a destination but a journey. However, mobile operators should not wait until the marketplace shakes out–that just gives competitors the first-mover advantage. The winning strategy is to act NOW. By carefully investing in upgrades to support specific 5G use cases, network operators can monetize their existing 4G/LTE infrastructure and modernize in preparation for the eventual migration to a full 5G architecture.
Over the years, carrier-grade telecom operators have had a good track record for security. However, new threats and technology changes have made the 4G/LTE mobile network—especially the core—more vulnerable than previous generations. The change from SS7 signaling to IP-based protocols has opened new attack avenues that can potentially penetrate the mobile core. Cyber criminals have increased their capabilities, leveraging automation and cloud tools to easily weaponize Internet of Things (IoT) and other mobile devices to attack both from within the network and via the Internet. Once inside, cyber criminals can exfiltrate sensitive customer data, eavesdrop on subscribers, compromise core resources and even bring down the entire network.
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