Manufacturing companies incorporating 5G and their cyber-security concerns

Nowadays, many manufacturing industries have started shifting their communication technologies from conventional methods like wiring, fieldbuses, and Ethernet technologies towards advanced methods. The integration of the fifth generation of cellular networking 5G wireless communication technologies with collaborative intelligent manufacturing (CIM) processes is increasing rapidly. 5G technologies have several applications like enhanced mobile broadband, massive machine-type communications, and ultra-reliable low latency communication, and numerous applications are still being introduced. For example, process automation, factory automation, logistics and warehousing, monitoring, and maintenance.

Manufacturing companies incorporating 5G and their cyber-security concerns​

5G in industry, has three main core areas that can ease any industry. First is network speed because 5G is far better and faster than 4G and in the near future, it could offer approximately 1,000 times higher data rates as compared to 4G. Second is latency that is the time it takes to send information from one point to second point. Decreasing latency means higher data capacity and the ability of machines and systems to react to controls in real time. Third is connectivity reliability. If operators can work with machine controls anywhere on the factory floor with confidence that connections will not be lost, productivity will increase.

Manufacturing industries are under continuous risk due to the increasing number of cyberattacks. This is a real concern as any successful attempt to infiltrate data can cause permanent shut down of an enterprise. For instance, an intruder may attack the network and start producing faulty products without the knowledge of higher authorities.

5G network is being developed immensely and rapidly and their related technologies have become significantly mature. The future of 5G communication can be forecasted in the direction of improved performance, smarter deployment, and many flexible functions. On the other side, cybercriminals are also targeting 5G system vulnerabilities as new windows for future cyberattacks.

Security In 5G

5G provides broadband services everywhere and ensures the connectivity of numerous devices in the form of IoT. 5G is considered a new ecosystem that connects almost all features of the society; vehicles, home appliances, health care, industry, businesses, etc., to the network. However, this advancement will introduce a new dimension of threats and security vulnerabilities that will pose a major challenge to both present and future networks. For example in a manufacturing company, 5G will connect critical infrastructures to the network, hence, security intrusions in such critical infrastructures can be of catastrophic magnitudes to both the infrastructures and the society which 5G serves. To address this issue, the security of 5G and systems connected through 5G must be considered right from the design phases.

5G Security Architecture

Security architecture generally divides security features into distinct architectural components so end-to-end security of news services, new solutions can be achieved. The security has the following main domains.

  • Network access security:

Comprises the set of security features that enables a UE to securely authenticate and access network services.

  • Network domain security:

It comprises a set of security features that enables network nodes to securely exchange signaling and user plane data.

  • User domain security:

It consists of security features that enable secure user access to UE.

  • Application domain security:

It includes security features that enable applications (user and provider domains) to securely exchange messages.

  • Service-Based Architecture (SBA) domain security:

It comprises security features for network element registration, discovery, and authorization, as well as security for service-based interfaces.

  • Visibility and configurability of security:

It includes security features that inform users whether security features are in operation or not.

Corresponding challenges and concerns related to 5G

At first, in the 5G architecture, from the connection level, the sensor data is collected and then converted into the component- or machine-related information with the help of some conversion mechanism. This converted data is then passed up to the cyber level for cloud network security computing performance. At last, the configuration level is supposed to make intelligent decisions concerning the required conditions.

Security and privacy concerns have been surfaced a lot in the last few years as 5G technology is evolving. Every level in the manufacturing technology incorporating 5G required different security measures and they all are dependent on each other so security-protection is quite a cumbersome process in this. The existing security strategy proposed for each level is not robust enough, thus, causing great threats to the system. A decentralized approach can be utilized in the 5G framework for data protection. Blockchain has become one of the most frequently discussed methods for securing data storage and transfer through decentralized, trustless, peer-to-peer systems When it comes to 5g and cybersecurity, here are a few concerns:

Decentralized security

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Manufacturing companies incorporating 5G and their cyber-security concerns

Manufacturing companies incorporating 5G and their cyber-security concerns

Manufacturing companies incorporating 5G and their cyber-security concerns

Manufacturing companies incorporating 5G and their cyber-security concerns

Manufacturing companies incorporating 5G and their cyber-security concernsManufacturing companies incorporating 5G and their cyber-security concerns

More bandwidth will enhance existing security monitoring.

5G networks offer more bandwidth, added speed, and more volume while other networks were limited in speed and volume. Limited speed can make the security check easier but, in 5G, the benefits of an expanded 5G network might hurt cybersecurity. Security professionals may need some advanced methods to cope with upcoming cyber threats.

Lack of security standards for IoT devices

5G networks provide more potential for IoT that encourage more devices to be connected with multiple security measures and numerous breach points. A lack of security standards for IoT devices means network breaches and hacking might run rampant.

Lack of encryption in the connection process

There is a lack of encryption in the connection process that can be utilized by hackers for device-specific IoT targeted attacks. Cybercriminals can use operating systems and device types to plan their attacks with more accuracy.

The security challenges in access networks, and
cyber-attacks against users and the network infrastructure have been depicted in the following figure.

Networkfort is providing security to manufacturing industries

For manufacturing industries, Networkfort offers multiple tools and services. One of the tools it is offering is NetworkFort. NetworkFort offers a complete solution to reduce the risks they pose. NetworkFort prevents identity theft which is the most vulnerable because once an intruder breaks into the network that can easily get access to the customer database and misuse it to apply for loans or line of credit. It also prevents phishing attacks and spam messages and gives off alerts before they become a crisis. In such a case, NetworkFort helps manufacturers by enabling them to self-evaluate the level of cyber risk to their company.

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Manufacturing companies incorporating 5G and their cyber-security concerns