Dec 9, 2020 - Technology

Report: Businesses still have a dim grasp on 5G security

5G illustration

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The business world has a muddled view of the cybersecurity challenges and opportunities presented by the rollout of 5G networks and services, per a paper out yesterday.

Why it matters: Secure hardware and systems will be a must in order to fulfill the vision of a 5G future filled with ubiquitous super-fast internet and a plethora of connected devices. Business leaders having a dim understanding of where things stand on that front could presage some headaches to come.

By the numbers: Some 31% of 1,000 global business leaders and security professionals polled in September said they believe 5G will be fully secure at the network provider point, according to the report from AT&T Cybersecurity, formerly known as AlienVault, which AT&T acquired in 2018 and which runs the Open Threat Exchange for sharing cyber threat intelligence.

  • 26% said they have no strategic plan to address 5G security.
  • Yet 56% said they understand they'll have to tailor their approach to cybersecurity for 5G.

What they're saying: "These diametrically opposing beliefs sum up the conundrum facing enterprises as they transition to secure 5G," reads the report. "Nearly half of the survey respondents think 5G requires no change to their security infrastructure, while the other half understands that this shift demands a rework of the security posture to keep the business protected."

Yes, but: Despite the mixed messages, respondents said their companies, all organizations with at least 1,000 employees, are investing heavily in 5G cybersecurity.

  • Respondents implementing 5G said they now spend 18–23% of their total security budgets on 5G security and expect that to tick up to nearly a quarter of their budgets within 12–18 months.
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