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Security Aspects of 5G Technology in India

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As India is slowly moving towards 5G technology, sensitivity of security plays a huge role. Read on to know more about how India can work towards the secure adaptation of 5G technology…

In the coming months, some of the countries in the world is moving towards 5G networks. This means that there will be Internet of Things (IOT) devices in the network, machine to machine communications and Autonomous Things (AuT) or Internet of Autonomous Things (IoAT,) which is an emerging term for the technological developments that are expected to bring computers into the physical environment as autonomous entities without human direction in the control systems.

Huawei Threat
Chinese telecom company Huawei is under fire in America, with the US justice department accusing the Chinese company of stealing trade secrets and obstructing justice. The prosecutors in United States have also alleged that Huawei had created a scheme detrimental to the security of the US, by using an unofficial subsidiary in Iran to obtain prohibited US goods, technology and services for its official Iran-based business. US prosecutors believe that Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei repeatedly lied about its business dealings in Iran. United States has alleged that Huawei had a policy in place that gave bonuses to employees who successfully stole confidential information from competitors. As Huawei faces problems selling its 5G equipment in the West, it is looking at developing countries that are price-sensitive. India is no exception.

Last year in December, India invited Huawei to participate in the 5G field trials while the US, the UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Japan sought to block Huawei. Huawei has been a key player in the Indian telecom market with a market share of 30 per cent. Should India be inviting Huawei when other countries feel Huawei is detrimental to their security? In other words, how dangerous is the situation of the decision to invite Huawei for Indian 5G trials?

Security Factor
The key issue in the 5G network is the physical network of a number of routers, switches and base stations because security can be breached at any one stage. The security threat is not coming from just any company or any country because the instruments are sourced from Japan and Korea also. Hence, users are vulnerable to devices from these countries also.

Any country adopting 5G technology should see to it that all the communication network should be based on indigenous technology. But again, every country adopting 5G technology cannot be self reliant in all the devices being manufactured. Security experts say that if India use domestic design and devices manufactured within the country, then there is no cause to worry.

Data Security
If we are looking at data security from a perspective with 5G technology — it should be noted that there are lot of hackers to capture data as the system is going to carry critical communication from the government and defence authorities. In an 5G technology, the technology designer should see that remote control, remote maintenance and remote monitoring is with the host country and government so that others cannot  manipulate or steal data.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is also going to play a major role in almost every critical technology. We are going to be in a virtual reality world with AI gathering data and robots coming into the picture. This means human intervention in many things is going to be less and less. In such a scenario, we should make sure that all types of sensors, all types of robots, all types of machine to machine devices and all types of Internet of Things are in good control.

The Road Ahead
As India is slowly moving to 5G technology, the government and the Industry have time to take such policy decisions that gives control over the future networks that we are going to have. So, in terms of security there is a need to have a safeguard built into the system when you have the 5G network. The mantra is even though you cannot have 100% check on everything, you can have some sort of a safeguard.

The government, the operator, the regulator, the consumer and the manufacturer should work in the direction of providing the best possible 5G technology along with the security and privacy aspects.

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