Ruchir Shukla, MD, SafeHouse Tech
Ruchir Shukla is the managing director of SafeHouse Tech, an Indian-Israeli cyber security company. Over the past 5 years, he has played a pivotal role in accelerating the company’s growth and building sustainable sales and operational channels for SafeHouse in India, spreading the company’s reach to actively sell in over 700 Indian cities, and registering product sales worth over 100 crore in less than 2 years. Ruchir holds a bachelor’s and master’s degree from IIT Kharagpur. In an interaction with Times of India Tech-Gadgets Now, Shah talks about the security risks that 5G poses and what smartphone users as well as businesses can do.
Q. What is the biggest danger posed by 5G?
With the launch of 5G network in India, the internet speed will be significantly fast with low latency resulting in more and more internet access. However, it will also give rise to some serious security vulnerabilities in the form of cyber threats such as Denial of Service, massive botnet attacks, etc. Considering that 5G architecture is a new development in the industry, it can lead to a multitude of network attacks that we can be unaware of.
As excited as we are to experience fast internet, cybercriminals will also use 5G’s high speed to innovate and execute larger network attacks, spreading malware faster than ever before. Another aspect here is our increasing reliance on IoT devices, from our smart watches to household appliances like refrigerators and air conditioners, we have moved to using smart appliances without knowing the potential risks and security holes through which attackers/cybercriminals can gain access. While 5G will be a driving change in IoT as more and more devices will be connected, it will also lead to more security breaches. The advent of 5G may pose a cybersecurity risk due to the absence of encryption in the network connection leading to the disclosure of device details and enabling hackers to easily capture data for IoT-focused device-specific attacks. 5G security is cumbersome, it will require protection on the main network, endpoints and the devices connected to the network. Therefore, it is crucial for enterprises to build different approaches for end-to-end security, not only for enterprises, but also for individual users.
Another danger that I foresee is that attackers could use 5G related offers or services to perform phishing or OTP scams by sending fake emails or messages claiming to offer an upgrade from 4G to 5G. These messages may use fake logos and branding to appear legitimate and may contain links or attachments designed to trick the victim into providing sensitive information or installing malware.
Q. What do you think telecommunications companies need to do to protect users?
While the advanced connectivity and new architecture will boost IoT in telecom, telcos will also face risks and vulnerabilities they may not know how to manage. 5G will create more security issues that will cause telecom companies to change their strategies to ensure maximum network security for consumers. These concerns will require a shift towards more automated security processes, orchestration capabilities, security-centric methods and flexible security services. These companies should also consider a different security-focused approach with more improvements than 4G as they plan their transformation to 5G. Needless to say, 5G networks will bring in new security requirements and to cope with these, the telcos will need to step up and support decision makers as and when required.
Another important aspect for telcos is to leverage DevSecOps with more drive on security and operational capabilities. This will help telecom companies put in place IT concepts for network security and a more secure software development approach. In addition, telecom companies can also work with governments and other organizations to develop and implement industry-wide standards and best practices for 5G security. This can help ensure that all companies take steps to protect against potential threats and that the overall 5G ecosystem is secure.
Overall protects against 5G threats will require a combination of technical measures, industry collaboration and continuous vigilance to ensure that the benefits of 5G technology can be realized without putting user data and privacy at risk.
Questions. Any dos and don’ts that you think users should follow?
Keep your devices and software up-to-date: Don’t overlook device updates. Run timely updates to ensure you have the latest security updates and features, which can help protect you from known vulnerabilities.
Use a reputable security solution: This will help protect your devices from malware, block malicious websites for you, identify apps that may be suspicious or potentially harmful, and provide warnings before you download them. In addition, it will give you a safe browsing experience and protect you from fraud and other online threats. Be careful when clicking links and installing software or apps: Don’t click on links or download files, apps, and software from sources you don’t trust, as they can be harmful. There is a chance that your device may get infected with malware and cause a number of problems like crashing your device and stealing your personal data.
Don’t use public WiFi networks without protection: Public WiFi networks are often unsecured, so it’s important to use a VPN or other security measures when accessing them. The VPN-enabled encrypted connection will protect your data from being intercepted by hackers.
Use longer passwords: Avoid using weak or easy-to-guess passwords for your accounts and devices, as they can be easily hacked. Instead, use strong passwords with a mix of letters, numbers and special characters. Refrain from using obvious things like your name, date of birth or common words that can be easily guessed.
Don’t fall for “too good to be true” offers: Be wary of offers that seem unbelievable. If someone offers you a free 5G upgrade or a great deal on 5G services, be sure to confirm the offer before giving them any personal information or money.
Q. What are the types of threats associated with 5G connectivity that you see?
As 5G networks are expected to be faster and more efficient than previous generations of mobile technology, they will enable new applications and services that were previously not possible. This means that 5G networks are likely to be a target for cyber attackers looking to exploit vulnerabilities in the technology.
Some of the potential threats and challenges associated with 5G networks include
Malware and ransomware attacks: As 5G networks become more widespread, they are likely to be targeted by malware and ransomware attacks. These attacks can compromise the security of the network and its users, leading to data breaches and other security incidents. With 5G, a cybercriminal could potentially gain access to a large number of compromised devices (such as smartphones or smart home devices) to quickly spread malware or ransomware across a network, ultimately allowing the attacker to infect a large number of devices in a short period of time, potentially causing widespread disturbances and damage.
DDoS attacks: 5G technology has the potential to significantly increase the speed and capacity of wireless networks. This increased speed and capacity can make it easier for attackers to launch large DDoS attacks. For example, with 5G, an attacker could potentially use a large number of connected devices (such as smartphones or smart home devices) to generate massive amounts of traffic and overwhelm a website or online service. This can make it difficult for the targeted website or service to function properly and can potentially cause significant disruption. Attackers can potentially use advanced techniques to bypass security measures and launch attacks that are more difficult to detect and defend against.
Man-in-the-middle attacks: With 5G, an attacker can use new techniques to intercept and manipulate data transmitted over the network. This could allow the attacker to read, modify or even impersonate one of the parties involved in the communication, potentially leading to the theft of sensitive information or the compromise of systems and networks. In addition, the increased speed and capacity of 5G networks may also make it easier for attackers to launch more sophisticated MitM attacks.
Q. How do you see the cyber security landscape in the country?
Cyber crime incidents are generally on the rise and the arrival of 5G in India will spread the issues considering that 5G’s architecture is relatively new in India and it will open doors for cyber attacks. As we invent, cyber criminals are also innovating new ways to access our data and the launch of 5G is a golden opportunity for them as 5G will connect everything – people, machines and devices.
Currently, India has 658 million internet users and 600 million smartphone users, a number expected to grow exponentially in the coming years, making mobile security a necessity for everyone. Mobile security apps have a number of features that secure your phone data, including sensitive information and other data stored in it. One of the biggest benefits of installing a mobile protection app is real-time protection and digital security against mobile security risks.