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With 5G networks rapidly coming on-stream, wireless carriers are increasingly handing off calls and data to Wi-Fi networks to save bandwidth, and flaws in this process will allow hackers to compromise security, say researchers at the WatchGuard Technologies Threat Lab.
The researchers believe attackers will find new vulnerabilities to access voice and data on 5G mobile phones that will be introduced across networks. WatchGuard also predicts that in 2020, a quarter of all breaches will happen outside the perimeter.
It adds that although remote working can increase employee productivity and reduce burnout, mobile staff often work without any network perimeter security and mobile devices can mask tell-tale signs of phishing attacks and other security threats.
“As 5G rolls out across large public areas like hotels, shopping centres and airports, users’ voice and data information on their cellular-enabled devices is communicated to both cell towers as well as Wi-Fi access points,” said WatchGuard CTO Corey Nachreiner. “While mobile devices have intelligence built into them to automatically and silently switch between cellular and Wi-Fi, security researchers have already exposed flaws in this handover process, and it is highly likely that a major new 5G to Wi-Fi security vulnerability will be exposed in 2020.”
WatchGuard advised security and IT teams to make sure they are implementing off-network protection for employees and that any laptop or device that leaves the office has a full suite of security services, including a local firewall, advanced malware protection, DNS (Domain Name System) filtering, disk encryption and multi-factor authentication.
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