Are 5G networks secure?
From a theoretical standpoint, the new 5G network architecture improves security compared to past network generations. But is this really true?
We will first have a look at the most relevant 5G new features in 3GPP standards and next compare the theory to practice.
Since we were able to observe mobile operators and telco vendors deploying 5G networks, we identified some common problems that prevent security best practices to be correctly applied before networks go live.
In summary, modern IT technologies used in 5G deployments, like fully containerized network functions, might introduce more issues than benefits compared to old-school hardware-based solutions.
In addition, the pressure to go to market leads developers to quick and dirty solutions, instead of the a more solid secure by design by approach.
We then deep dive into some real-world vulnerabilities we found in commercial 5G network components from multiple vendors and in different countries.
For each analyzed finding we also propose a mitigation and we summarize all the relevant security guidelines to secure 5G deployments.
About the speakers
- Luca Melette is a security researcher with focus on mobile networks at SRLabs. He discovered and disclosed several security vulnerabilities in 2G/3G networks, from low-cost radio attacks to more sophisticated SS7 abuse. Luca maintains the website gsmmap.org and the related mobile app SnoopSnitch that enable comparison of mobile networks world-wide.
- Matteo Strada is a penetration tester and researcher at SRLabs. Passionate about web pentesting and network security, he obtained his masters' degree at University of Trento and TUBerlin with a thesis on 4G and 5G exposure services implementation and their flaws.