CISA Braces for 5G with New Strategy, Initiatives

Nov 12, 2020
Smart City Security

The Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) released its 5G Strategy, ensuring the federal government and its many states, local, tribal, territorial, and private sector partners are as secure as possible when the 5G technology arrives.

CISA developed the 5G Strategy based on the recommendations established by the Prague Proposals. The agency’s document hoped to expand on how the US Government would secure 5G infrastructure both in the country and abroad.

“As we look to implement 5G into our nation’s networks and critical infrastructure, it is important we work to address potential risks that come with 5G deployment. That is where my agency, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) within the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS), comes in. CISA leads the national effort to enhance the security, resilience, and reliability of our cyber and physical infrastructure,” said CISA Director Christopher Krebs.

Ensuring resilient 5G deployment

The agency created the 5G Strategy to promote secure and robust 5G deployment by leading the efforts to identify, analyze, prioritize, and manage risks that may surface. Through the 5G Strategy, CISA also aimed to engage its partners in addressing 5G challenges. The agency also wanted to help update and develop tools to support its stakeholders with aspects of secure 5G deployment.

“The promise of 5G is undeniable, but with 5G technology posed to underpin a wide range of critical infrastructure functions, it’s vital that we manage these risks adequately and promote a trusted ecosystem of 5G componentry,” Krebs said in a press release.

In line with the National Strategy to Secure 5G, CISA established five core strategic initiatives to advance the deployment of a secure and resilient 5G infrastructure.

Each initiative caters to critical risks to secure 5G deployment. These risks included physical security concerns, threat actors’ attempts to influence the architecture and design of the 5G network, and vulnerabilities within the 5G supply chain. The increased attack surface for malicious actors was also addressed by the initiatives.

The five strategic initiatives

Here are the five strategic initiatives slated in CISA’s 5G Strategy:

  • Support 5G policy and standards development by emphasizing security and resilience
    To secure 5G communications, the development of 5G policies and standards will be the foundation. These foundational elements must be created and put into action to prevent threat actors from influencing the design and architecture of 5G networks to their benefits.

 

  • Expand situational awareness of 5G supply chain risks and promote security measures
    Because the 5G supply chain is threatened by untrusted components, vendors, networks, and equipment, it’s essential to strengthen and secure the 5G supply chain. It will help mitigate malicious vulnerabilities from entering the supply chain.

 

  • Partner with stakeholders to strengthen and secure existing infrastructure to support future 5G deployments
    The first 5G deployments will depend on existing 4G LTE infrastructure and core networks. While this new architecture is created to be more secure, 5G protocols and specifications come from previous networks, which may contain legacy vulnerabilities.
    To mitigate these vulnerabilities and new and unknown risks, a partnership between the government and industry is needed to develop and communicate security improvements supporting secure 5G developments.

 

  • Encourage innovation in the 5G marketplace to foster trusted 5G vendors
    CISA aims to support R&D initiatives through collaboration with academia and industry to propel innovation and establish a trusted vendor community for 5G’s future.

 

  • Analyze potential 5G use cases and share information on identified risk management strategies
    5G’s improved capabilities will support various functions and devices, introducing several potential use cases. To ensure the security and integrity of devices connected via 5G, CISA will communicate known vulnerabilities and risk management strategies for uses cases related to securing national critical infrastructures.

5G networks would change the way we communicate, opening new ways to connect and interact. However, these developments would also introduce significant risks, threatening national and economic security. These risks would also impact other national and global interests.

CISA’s 5G Strategy and its five strategic initiatives hoped to secure the federal government and its stakeholders once this exciting new technology arrives.

To learn more about CISA’s 5G Strategy, go to https://www.cisa.gov/ .

Author: Ericka Pingol


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