5G and IoT: How will Security Change?

Jul 6, 2020Blog

Did you think Internet of Things (IoT) security issues were big with WiFi? With 5G mobile networks, those issues get even bigger. But we are not here to scare you. We are here to help you avoid security mistakes and to let you know how to prepare.

Change is always happening. Just like with each new WiFi generation and IoT security, with 5G on the rise, we need to talk about how IoT security will change in that space.


What you need to know about 5G and IoT Security

Are there protection issues with IoT devices on 5G? Yes. The 5G environment magnifies all IoT security issues. Therefore, 5G mobile networks will change IoT security. It has to.

5G poses new risks because:

  1. 5G is a software-defined network. There isn’t hardware to intercept, inspect and control.

  2. 5G operates through digital routers. Before, physical appliances performed these functions. Since 5G is all digital, it is all vulnerable.
  3. 5G networks are managed by software, which is vulnerable to attackers. If a cyber attacker gains access to the software managing the 5G network, the attacker can control the entire network.
  4. 5G works on an expanded bandwidth spectrum, which means there are more channels for attackers to use.
  5. 5G allows billions of IoT devices to connect. Without proper security, these smart devices are immediately hackable.

Security and privacy are everything in your connected home. But don’t panic. There are things you can do to start addressing these issues. Here’s what you need to know and what you can do:

5G requires a new approach to security. We have to take a holistic approach to secure 5G. Instead of isolating parts of security we need to think of them all together. This way we can address them appropriately. Things like:

  • User authentication
  • Traffic encryption
  • Mobility
  • Overload situations
  • Network resilience

This means addressing security at different stages of the IoT process, not just once the device is in your home.


What manufacturers can do to protect IoT devices

Manufacturers can start implementing security from the beginning. Here are different touchpoints where security must be thought out:


  • Secure optional procedures
  • Monitor how security functions perform
  • Monitor vulnerabilities and detect attack points
  • Respond and recover after a breach


  • Deploying products that are designed with security, resilience and the network in mind
  • Deploying products that are configured with top security aligned with security parameters

Vendor and product development:

  • Everything from the deployment stage plus minding version control and software updates

Telecommunications and standardization processes:

  • Must secure protocols, algorithms and data storage

What you can do to protect your IoT devices

Once you have IoT devices in your home, you need to take action. IoT security requires risk management. Here’s how you can protect your smart device ecosystem so that you can use 5G without fear:

  1. Automate security controls

By automating security controls, you can lower future risk. Since 5G operates on an expanded attack surface, automating your security controls means they will respond quickly to attacks. Automating your security is quick to deploy and ideal since it is hands-off protection.

  1. Implement artificial intelligence (AI) machine learning and threat detection

Similar to automating your security, you can implement artificial intelligence machine learning to improve your security. AI and machine learning monitor your devices and network. AI analyzes large amounts of data to understand your device and network patterns. Since 5G transmits large amounts of data, AI is ideal to sift through it. There is no way you could do this manually.

Machine learning can detect and threats and react immediately.

  1. Adopt a holistic, multi-layered approach to security

Understand that in your smart home ecosystem every single smart device is connected. Whether your smart device is a light bulb, a toaster or a voice assistant, it doesn’t matter. If they are IoT devices, they are all connected through your network.

Identify the interconnectivity of your IoT devices. Any of these devices could be a weak link for attackers to get in, so protecting your entire network is key.

  1. Invest in a network management tool

All of the tips above are crucial to protecting your IoT devices. But it can feel like a lot to implement by yourself. The good news is that there are management tools out there that automatically implement the things like security controls, AI and machine learning and “eyes” to see everything at once (the holistic approach).

Optim is a great solution. Optim offers all of these controls and protection. Take the worry and guess work out of network protection and IoT security with Optim. The benefits of Optim are:

  • A dashboard that is easy to understand
  • Improves network performance
  • It is a cloud-based solution that provides complete, holistic view of your entire network
  • Efficient troubleshooting
  • Self-healing intelligence and automation
  • Bid data analytics
  • Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning implementation
  • Advanced security

Secure and manage your IoT devices today.

Want more? Stay in-the-know on the impacts of 5G and other developing IoT security by following Actiontec’s featured Industry Articles or the Actiontec blog.

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