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Why 5G and AI will help you connect more securely

Story by
Anastasios Bikos

Anastasios Bikos

5G Cybersecurity Architect, Huawei

Artificial intelligence and 5G will be transformative technologies, and their pervasiveness triggers important security questions. The good news is that both will come with built-in security upgrades

By 2025, there will be 40 billion personal smart devices and 100 billion connections. Intelligent technologies will sweep through every industry, empowering a digital economy worth a projected €20 trillion.

What will bring this new ecosystem to life is not just a new wireless access technology. 5G is a truly new converged network enabling applications that still sounds too good to be true: driverless cars, immersive virtual reality and holographic imaging are just a few examples.

Safer, faster, more

This massive connectivity naturally triggers concerns related to hardware, software and data security. These are key questions that need to be addressed in a collaborative manner.

However, it is important to note that 5G will not just upgrade the speed and volume of transmission, but also the safeguards built into the system to make this transmission secure.

Compared with 4G, 5G will provide better end-to-end security and a unified authentication and key agreement protocol. Privacy protection through encryption will also be improved, with an ongoing discussion seeking to increase the key length of encryption algorithms to 256 bits. This will provide stronger security levels for the confidentiality and integrity of data travelling over 5G networks.

Huawei is an active contributor to the technologies delivering 5G security. To give just a few concrete examples, we have contributed to enhancing vulnerabilities management, the detection of DDoS attacks, built-in firewalls, big data security, encryption and software security.

Smarter threat detection

The company is also helping to develop policies and standards ensuring the security of 5G applications. We are working with key organisations such as 3GPP and ETSI to drive the 5G standardisation process forward.

What’s true for 5G also applies to artificial intelligence. Unlike 5G, AI is already here, and the figures speak for themselves. Using machine-learning techniques, we have been able to increase the detection rate of network threats to 87 %, compared to a competitor performance of just 43 % – in other words, less than half. With ongoing optimisation of AI technologies and expertise, we can expect this percentage to continue rising.

Our commitment to 5G and AI security is embedded in our end-to-end approach to cyber security which relies on the principle that this top concern needs to cover all process areas to ensure that security is built-in, not bolt-on.

By working together across the digital community, involving governments, businesses, industry organisations and users, we can make sure that this built-in approach becomes a key feature of future networks.