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Securing the Path from 4G to 5G: How to protect mobile networks and subscribers during migration

5G enables a large range of service and use cases. It offers new levels of bandwidth, reliability, round trip times and integration of verticals. With the huge increase of more sensitive and valuable data in the 5G core network, there is also an increase in the interest of fraudsters, hackers and nation states in getting access to this data or other attacks impacting subscribers and networks. Attackers already have a toolbox of attacks available for 2G, 3G and 4G networks, for them a new generation of mobile technology is simply a new technology, attackers will probe different networks for a suitable attack path to their target.

As the leading global telecoms security company, AdaptiveMobile Security details in this whitepaper the typical migration and interworking scenarios that 4G Mobile Operators will encounter when they migrate to a 5G core network, and outline how to protect them, as well as how to integrate the latest threat intelligence into their protection strategy. We will discuss the following interworking scenarios for 4G nodes with the 5G Service Based Architecture (SBA):

  • Mobility Management Entity (MME) integration into 5G core
  • 4G Non-3GPP access migration
  • 4G Subscriber Databases (HSS / 4G-UDR) integration with 5G core
  • Location based service migration as an example of service migration

Vulnerable 5G core networks will come under attack, without proper migration protection, attacks exploiting legacy interworking could impact subscribers and mobile networks, and corrosion in trust may endanger upcoming and evolving business opportunities for Mobile Operators . There is still time for Mobile Operators to take the right path on the journey to migration and make the 5G networks of the future secure.

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