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The relationship between 5G and mobile services

  • Author:HFSecurity
  • Release on :2019-05-10

In March, theworld’s first 5G-powered remote brain surgery wasperformed by Dr. Ling Zhipei in China. From a location in the Hainan Islands,Dr. Zhipei operated on a patient with Parkinson’s disease in Beijing –approximately 3,000 kilometers away. For years the major impediment stoppingtelemedicine was the absence of color rendering and any decent haptic feedback,which made its practice risky at best. To successfully execute telehealthservices – whether it’s performing a remote surgery or using IoT devices tomonitor patients – we need substantial bandwidth, speed and extremely lowlatencies, all of which can only be supported by a 5G network.

5G is on the path to revolutionizing the world,digitally.

The next generation network is expected topower 20.4billion connected devices that will make up the Internet of Things by 2020.The exponential growth of the IoT will require a mixture of infrastructuredesigns to address different use cases. For example, smart manufacturingdevices will integrate sensors into existing equipment to transmit data to adigital control system for predictive maintenance and much more. The industrialsubset of the IoT will require low-powereddevices using slow but responsive coverage to maintain efficacy.On the other hand, if we refer back to the telehealth industry and theapplication of remote surgery, we depend on 5G to enable super-fast speeds withextremely low latency. Although, in exchange for speed we will sacrifice range.Network providers will construct 5G by positioning thousands of small cellstowers on street lamps and upgrading 200-foot cell towers that deliver 4G now.Ultimately, the future of 5G will be enabling back-and-forth communication withsatellite relays.

Billions of vulnerable end-points

Both 5G and the IoT ramp up the number ofvulnerable end-points that connect to a network and enable more opportunitiesfor hackers to maneuver. A big concern will be securing unsuspecting homeautomation and security devices – like a smart fridge, a video doorbell andvoice assistant – that can be remotely accessed to carry out distributed denialof service (DDoS) attacks. With 5G, hackers will have the bandwidth and thespeed to complete more attacks, and at a faster pace than ever before. In fact,bad actors can even tap into the physical infrastructure of a small cell towerlocated in public.

However, every industry will be affected invariance depending on the application and the infrastructure used. According toHIPPA Journal, there have been 2,546 healthcare data breaches involving morethan 500 records between 2009 and 2018, and those breaches have resulted in thetheft/exposure of 189,945,874 healthcare records. With the rise ofhealth-related IoT devices on 5G networks safeguarding your health data will beeven more important than in the past. Hackers can compromise data stored on theCloud, or worse companies can sell this data to the highest bidder. What ifyour health insurance provider got a hold of data from your fitness trackingdevice and forced you to pay a premium for not reaching 10,000 steps a day?Amazon announced their voice assistant can now relay and store bloodsugar measurementsfrom internet-connected monitoring devices andprovide prescription delivery updates by accessing customers’ private medicalinformation. In the future, when remote surgery is performed on a regular basiswhat will happen if the connection is hijacked – will someone be able to watchyou while you’re under anesthesia? Our guess is that these circumstances arenot acceptable because they bring about a host of privacy and democracyconcerns.

5G could mean an end to the Cloud (sort of)

5G can help usher in a new era that reduces theamount of data sent to the Cloud and relies on edge-computing. By moving datato the edge, we can 1. cut down on latency, and 2. keep sensitive informationon the user’s local device. For instance, biometric sensors are embedded in IoTdevices to identify and authenticate users and effectively replace the legacypassword. Biometrics can also be used to tag sensitive information. Currently,this information is stored in a database and computed over the Cloud. Thewidespread practice of aggregating databases is plainly incompatible withbiometrics. You can survive the loss a credit card, but if your biometricidentity is stolen, the loss is for life. You can’t generate a new face, brainor fingers. Regulatory frameworks like the GDPR are getting stricter aboutprocessing and protecting biometrics, however regulatory directives should takethis point into account: no databases. For now, combining 5G with livebiometric signals at the edge will create a world where the body is aprotective password, being recognized and shielded at the same time? A realitysoon…