Podcast Episode 122: will 5G increase Internet of Things Risk?

Telecommunications firms like to talk up all the great things that so-called 5G cellular networks will bring to smart phones. But what new kinds of Internet of Things use cases may become possible? And, just as important, what are the security implications of massively distributed IoT endpoints connected to capacious 5G cellular infrastructure? Jason Ortiz of the cybersecurity services firm Pondurance* joins us to talk about the impact of 5G on the IoT. 

In this week’s podcast: major telecommunications carriers like to talk up the advantages of so-called 5G connectivity to their customers. Videos and games will stream much faster over cellular networks. Web based applications will grow to support more robust features that the increased cellular bandwidth will accomodate. But what about the Internet of Things? Many IoT endpoints today – from cars to surveillance cameras and “smart” garbage receptacles- communicate using 4G LTE or even older 3G networks.

Jason Ortiz, Pondurance
Jason Ortiz is a Senior Engineer at the pen-testing firm Pondurance.

With the arrival of 5G, what new kinds of Internet of Things use cases may become possible? And, just as important, what are the security implications of massively distributed IoT endpoints connected to capacious 5G cellular infrastructure?

That’s a question our next guest, Jason Ortiz of the firm Pondurance, a cybersecurity services firm based in Indianapolis, Indiana.  Ortiz, who works as a senior engineer at Pondurance, said that 5G networks will narrow the gulf between wired, wireless and cellular networks. That, in turn, will make cellular networks appealing to a much wider array of endpoints than existing 3G and 4G networks.

Practically, that will pose a major challenge to organizations that wish to monitor their networks. “What start to see is a lot of IoT devices directly connecting to 5G networks versus traditional WiFi networks,” he said. “That will make them harder to monitor. You’ll have sensors and cameras directly connecting via 5G instead of through your router and you’ll have very limited or no visibility at all into communications for those devices.”

In this podcast conversation, Jason and I talk about how the advent of 5G cellular networks might exacerbate IoT security woes. Check our full conversation in our latest Security Ledger podcast at Blubrry. As always, you can also listen to it on iTunes and check us out on SoundCloud.

(*) Clarification: an earlier version of this blog post included an inaccurate description of cybersecurity firm Pondurance. The post has been updated to accurately describe the firm’s services. PFR 11/27/2018

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