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The global data volume is expected to reach 175 zettabytes by 2025. For comparison: in 2010, when 4G networks just started to be deployed everywhere, it did not exceed 1.2 zettabytes. 5G is the fifth generation cellular technology. It is expected that 5G will be 100 times faster than 4G, delays will be reduced by 25 times, and up to one million devices per square kilometer will be able to connect to the network. 5G is based on five technologies: millimeter waves, small cells, massive multi-channel input-output (MIMO), beamforming and full-duplex mode.
A significant increase in the number of connected devices and the speed of data exchange between them naturally leads to an increase in the number and scale of threats. The development and interaction of various systems within 5G opens the door to many risks, which we will discuss below.
With the spread of 5G technology, more and more shortcomings and shortcomings in the network equipment, client software and regulatory mechanisms from the authorities will emerge. These flaws can be used by cybercriminals to disable telecommunications infrastructure, monitor customers of mobile operators, or redirect traffic to their resources. Governments need to create conditions at the state level for the application of objective and specialized methods for evaluating 5G consumers and service providers in order to track deficiencies and prescribe their correction.
The situation with data privacy will be complicated. The use of 5G networks with a short coverage radius will lead to the fact that more base stations of cellular communication will appear in business centers and other buildings. This will allow anyone who has the necessary tools to determine the exact location of network users.
In addition, 5G communication service providers will have access to the vast amount of data coming from user devices. This data will allow them to find out what is happening in the client’s house, or to get an idea of the environment in which he lives, for example, using information from sensors. This could lead to a violation of user data privacy and abuse. Mobile operators can also sell information about their customers to other companies, such as advertising, to get additional income.
In some cases, vulnerabilities can harm people’s health – for example, if the user’s medical devices are disconnected from the network or malfunctioning. Possible threats will be even greater if critical infrastructure facilities, such as water and electricity networks, are in danger.
5G technology allows you to establish communication in many geographical regions where it is currently absent. Even stand-alone devices will be equipped with remote monitoring and control systems. An increased number of connected devices and systems will increase the number of potential threats. People easily get used to convenience and constant communication, but the risks associated with this threaten public safety.
5G will have a revolutionary impact on the field of telecommunications, because it is not only a promising technology in itself, but also a basis for other developments and innovative solutions, in particular, in the field of smart cities, smart energy systems and defense complexes. This is a new generation of cellular networks using the existing 4G LTE standard along with millimeter waves. The 5G network will be able to serve more connected devices, while the communication speed for all users will increase significantly.
However, like any large-scale technology, especially developing, 5G will attract the attention of cybercriminals seeking new opportunities for attacks. For example, we are likely to witness large-scale DDoS attacks, and it will be more difficult to protect branched networks of connected systems in which damage to one device can cause the entire network to fail. In addition, since 5G technology is based on existing infrastructure, it will inherit all the vulnerabilities and configuration errors of its predecessors.
Previously used confidence models will have to be abandoned. Internet of Things and Machine Interconnection (M2M) devices will consume most of the network resources. The interaction of these devices on a 5G network is likely to lead to new problems associated with their design and behavior.
Given these concerns and political challenges, it would be advisable to use a zero-confidence model and strictly comply with product quality requirements in order to establish a secure interaction between users and technology providers. Government and industry leaders must join forces and promote reliable and safe projects based on 5G technology, which will improve the quality of services and life in smart cities.
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