The Impact of 5G on Cybersecurity in the APAC Region

Widespread 5G connectivity is finally becoming a reality. As these next-generation networks grow across the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region, businesses must adapt to the opportunities and challenges they bring. Cybersecurity is one of the most important areas of impact to consider.
5G Cybersecurity

While 5G growth isn’t unique to APAC, the region is experiencing it to a greater extent than much of the globe. It was an early adopter of the technology and is seeing faster expansion than many areas. That entails a lot of good for APAC businesses, but you must also prepare for a changing security landscape in light of that shift.

Expanding Attack Surfaces

One of 5G’s biggest impacts on cybersecurity is that it’ll lead to larger attack surfaces. These networks can theoretically support up to 1 million devices per square kilometer — 10 times what 4G could do. You’ll bring more devices online as you take advantage of that bandwidth, leaving you with more potential entry points for attackers.

 

The number of endpoints aside, this trend could also hinder security efforts by increasing network complexity. Adding more connections will make systems more complicated and difficult to sift through to find issues or trace data’s movement. That lack of transparency could make businesses more likely to miss pressing vulnerabilities or respond to attacks slower.

 

These risks are particularly prevalent in APAC because the region is on track to become the biggest 5G market globally. Consequently, businesses in the area will likely experience complications related to these growing attack surfaces before anywhere else.

Shifting Industry Risk Profiles

 
Industry Risk

Similarly, 5G’s growth in the APAC region could change which industries are most at risk for cybercrime. Its speed and bandwidth are especially promising for sectors like manufacturing and construction, which traditionally have not dealt much with digital technologies. That lack of experience could become dangerous as increased connectivity makes these industries larger targets.

 

Consider how the education sector jumped from experiencing 62% of all malware threats in 2020 to seeing 82% of them in 2022. That spike came about as more schools embraced online learning and relied more heavily on connected devices.  Manufacturing and other heavy industries in APAC could see similar trends as 5G adoption rises.

 

Cybersecurity adoption and training must increase alongside 5G to minimize risks from this trend. Consider that today’s high-risk industries may not be tomorrow’s, and always stay on top of emerging security trends, regardless of your current risk level.

 

New Opportunities for Network Monitoring

Not all of 5G’s impact on cybersecurity is bad. There are also opportunities to improve your security posture by taking advantage of some of its unique security features. Network monitoring, in particular, can gain a lot from 5G.

 

Many of the fastest 5G speeds in the world come from the APAC region, with nations like South Korea, Singapore, and Malaysia leading the way. These accelerated  connections mean you can process more data in less time. That, in turn, can make real-time network monitoring tools recognize potential threats faster and more accurately.

 

5G also has built-in network slicing features. This segmentation lets you split networks into different groups and assign resources accordingly. Consequently, you can provide appropriate protections to differing device risk levels, like hosting IoT devices on one segment and highly sensitive data on another.

Changing Security Skills Requirements

As 5G grows across the APAC region, it’ll also change the kinds of security skills your business needs. That can be a challenge or an opportunity, depending on how you respond to the shift.

 

Most notably, 5G brings an increased focus on IoT and edge computing security  concerns. Networks will become larger and more complex, so security solutions must likewise take a less centralized approach. Real-time responsiveness, advanced encryption methods, and endpoint-level protections will become increasingly crucial.

 

Similarly, 5G opens new possibilities in network segmentation, software-defined networking, virtualization, and other cutting-edge security technologies. Jumping on that opportunity and training IT staff in these areas could lead to widespread 5G-driven security improvements. That could be challenging, as the cybersecurity worker shortage is growing faster in APAC than in many regions, but upskilling could provide a solution.

5G Presents Cybersecurity Risks and Benefits

The question isn’t if 5G’s growth in APAC will affect cybersecurity — it’s whether that change will be positive or negative and to what extent it’ll reach. Both considerations come down to how businesses can respond to these incoming shifts.

 

Rapidly expanding 5G networks in the APAC region could both help and hinder cybersecurity efforts. Recognizing how this shift will impact security risks and best practices is key to weathering the storm and emerging stronger on the other side. Cybersecurity can benefit from 5G, but it’ll take planning and careful implementation to get there.

 

Interested to see how Kobalt.io can help you improve your security posture in the everchanging threat landscape? Book a time to chat. 

*This article is provided by April  Miller from Rehack.

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