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TOWARDS TACKLING CYBER SECURITY THREATS OF THE 5G ERA IN NIGERIA

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Abstract:

5G is next generation network that was designed to improve bandwidth, reliability, and capacity of wireless broadband services. Specifically, 5G network was designed to meet the increasing data and communications requirements, by providing the capacity to efficiently manage tens of billions of connected devices. However, the deployment of 5G in Nigeria may result to several cyber security threats that might be a national security threats to Nigeria and Nigerians. As such, this paper investigated some potential threats of 5G network in Nigeria. Specifically, the investigation was carried out through the use of secondary data from 5G network experts in identifying some of the potential 5G cyber security threats in Nigeria. Consequently, this paper proposed some of the key strategies that can help in solving the identified 5G cyber security threats in Nigeria.

Research Findings and Recommendations

The potential 5G cyber security threats in Nigeria and the proposed strategies that can help in solving the identified threats are as follows:

Identify Theft:

Identity theft, also referred identity fraud . It is a crime in which an imposter obtains key pieces of personally identifiable information, such as social media account, email account, internet, and mobile or short code banking credentials in order to impersonate someone else for financial fraud . So deployment of 5G network in Nigeria may increase stealing identify data and financial fraud by cybercriminals, due its improve bandwidth, reliability, and capacity of wireless broadband services. Hence, in order to tackle the issue of identity theft in the era of 5G network in Nigeria, both federal and state government, businesses and the public must exercise care when dealing with personal details. Individual, government and businesses must use up-to-date technologies to protect their systems, and alerting one another to fraudsters might also help a lot.

Attack on IOT Devices.

According to IBM , in 5G era devices connected to the Internet are expected to exceed the number of human beings and the evolution of connectivity is expected to continue such that, by 2020 the number of connected devices will be around 50 billion . These devices are known as the Internet of Things (IoT). However, currently there are limited IoT deployment in Nigeria but with deployment and implementation 5G network in Nigeria, there might be more deployment IOT devices. Below are the potential security threats of IOT in 5G era in Nigeria: –

a. Physical Attacks:
b. Side Channel attacks
c. Cryptanalysis attacks
d. Software Attacks
e. Network Attack

Therefore, to tackle issue of the attack on IOT Devices in the era of 5G network in Nigeria, triple‑A (AAA) security approach should be adopted. Specifically, triple‑A (AAA) stands for authentication, authorization, and accounting.

Authentication allows users to verify their identities based on a unique set of criteria most especially, traditional credentials being a username and a password. If an authentication credentials match with those stored on the AAA server, a user gains access to the connected device. Traditional username and a password are most commonly-used but least secure method for authentication. More advanced authentication mechanisms such digital certificate, biometric credentials, response questions, and token need to be deployed for greater IoT devices security. Several mechanisms might be combined; this is referred to as multifactor authentication. The device authentication process makes it possible to verify that only trusted devices can send data.

Authorization can be defined as whether a user has permissions and rights to see certain information and to perform certain tasks. Typically, it follows authentication: after a user logs in to a device, the server receives a request for a certain action and approves or rejects the access rights to different resources. The quantity of information and services a user has access to will vary depending on their authorization level. Therefore, a strong authorization mechanisms need to implemented on IoT devices in Nigeria so as to make hackers not be able to get unauthorized access into IoT devices and gain control of them.

Accounting, the final element of AAA security, allows tracking and measuring user’s activity while working with an IoT device such as data that a user sends or receives during a session, time spent in the system, actions that a user performs among other things. Therefore, in era of 5G in Nigeria, special accounting mechanisms need to be utilized so as unusual behaviour, such as invalid login attempts can be detected which might indicate an attack.

Attack On Network Infrastructure of the Mobile Operator:

As network has IP open based architecture, therefore, the network Infrastructure of the mobile operators in Nigeria would be vulnerable to IP attacks which are common over the Internet. The attack may include the following: –

a. Denials of service (DoS)
b. Man- in –the- Middle Attack
c. Attack on Airtime
d. Flood the Gates

Conversely, to tackle the issue of the possible attack infrastructure of mobile operators in the era of 5G in Nigeria, it is recommended to adopt the following countermeasures: –

a. Increased Visibility
b. Bandwidth allocation
c. Application Management
d. User quotas

Attack on Infrastructure of Critical Sectors:

In 5G era in Nigeria, many systems in critical sectors, such as financial institutions, hospitals, MDGs, security apparatus, telecommunication, healthcare, among others would be interconnected. However, to tackle this issue, a high level of cyber security measures should be in place at every systems and networks of critical sectors in Nigeria.

Conclusion

While 5G network was designed to meet the increasing data and communications requirements, by providing the capacity to efficiently manage tens of billions of connected devices. However, some potential cyber security threats of the 5G Era in Nigeria were identified, such as identifying thefts and attack on Internet of Things (IOT) devices, potential attack on network Infrastructure of the mobile operator and attack on infrastructure of critical sectors. Consequently, some key strategies that can help in solving the identified 5G cyber security threats in Nigeria were also recommended accordingly.

Reference:
1. Benoit J. (26th 2019). Tackling 5G’s security challenges retrieved https://www.techradar.com/news/tackling-5gs-security-challenges
2. Georgios M., Nikos K., Jonathan R., Evariste L. and Hugo M. (2015). Security for 5G Communications, Fundamentals of 5G Mobile Networks, Wiley Telecom, 207-220.
3. Bangerter B., Talwar S., Arefi R. and Stewart K. (2014) Networks and devices for the 5G era’, IEEE Communications Magazine, 52(2), 90–96.
4. Oheneba A. O. (2019). The 5G revolution is coming to Africa, the Africa Report retrieved from https://www.theafricareport.com/11461/the-5g-revolution-is-coming-to-africa/
5. Sandra K. (2018). Triple A Approach to IoT Security: How It Works, Retrieved from https://www.itransition.com/blog/triple-a-approach-to-iot-security-how-it-works

Dr. Ahmed Abba Haruna is a Senior Lecturer of Computer and Information Science in Skyline University Nigeria. He has a PhD. in Information Technology from Universiti Teknologi PETRONAS (UTP), Malaysia..

You can join the conversation on facebook @SkylineUniversityNG and on twitter @SkylineUNigeria


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