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Smart Devices Could be Connected to 5G, But is it Safe?

The adoption of 5G into smart devices could bring a number of security concerns that may affect you.

Most of us own smart devices that can connect to the Internet via Wi-Fi, but the technology is far from perfect as network shortages can shut down these devices. Tech companies are looking to fix these issues with 5G, which would allow Internet-of-Things (IoT) devices such as smart refrigerators, home security systems, and smart TVs to connect to a network that does not rely on WiFi.

Read More: What’s Going on with 5G and when Will It Be Available?

The idea is to allow these devices to stay online at all times via the connection to 5G data, similar to how smartphones remain online without Wi-Fi.

Design Company Is Changing the Game
A company called Arm is developing a new software stack called Kigen that would offer smart devices SIM cards for 5G connectivity. Arm believes that by 2035, there will be more than a trillion connected devices on SIM cards, as good as Wi-Fi connections in most areas of the U.S. There are still plenty of places that are susceptible to blackouts and poor connectivity that would benefit from such technology.

The initiative would also mean that IoT-device owners would not have to set up an individual Wi-Fi network — the SIM cards would connect your device quickly. Arm claims 5G technology adds more security to the home since hacking attacks typically take place through unsecured Wi-Fi networks.

Nevertheless, security experts believe this technology could create a slew of security issues that Arm needs to address before rolling out SIM cards for smart devices.

Do the Benefits Outweigh the Risks?
We’re moving towards a world that will soon see mainstream adoption of autonomous driving technology and healthcare solutions that operate on 5G in order to reduce accidents and save lives. However, if the technology were to misfire, the results could be catastrophic. These networks would operated in a different way than Wi-Fi is and rely on cloud systems and visualization, leaving them open to other vulnerabilities that Wi-Fi networks don’t currently deal with.

Networks running on 5G have low latency and high bandwidth capabilities that could be vulnerable to distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks on larger scale. Cryptocurrency miners aka, hackers could also take advantage the network resources of smart devices connected to 5G to increase processing power and reduce yours.

Cyber Attacks Could Grow Exponentially
Experts believe that hackers will have the opportunity to launch larger attacks than previously seen if they manage to infect IoT devices connected on 5G. One of the most impactful cyber attacks in recent memory was the 2016 Dyn IoT botnet attack, which shut down the East Coast of the U.S. preventing users from loading certain websites.

A threat of this scale targeting a 5G network would be faster and of lower latency, allowing hackers to potentially take down more than just a small geographical area.

Arm and other 5G developers will have to develop iron-clad security measures to prevent such attacks from happening before the technology is rolled out.