5G and AI expected to bring cybersecurity risks, study finds

An overwhelming majority of cybersecurity and risk management leaders believe that developments in 5G will create cybersecurity challenges for their organisations according to a study from Information Risk Management (IRM). The top three 5G-related concerns are; a greater risk of attacks on Internet of Things (IoT) networks, a wider attack surface and a lack of security by design in 5G hardware and firmware.

The report, titled Risky Business, is based on a survey of senior cybersecurity and risk management decision makers at 50 global companies across seven major industry sectors: automotive, communications, energy, finance/public sector, software/internet, transport and pharmaceuticals. The study was conducted between July and September of this year.

  • 83%  of respondents said 5G developments will create cybersecurity challenges for their organisations, suggesting that the new technology will bring heightened risks.
  • 86% of respondents expect artificial intelligence (AI) to have an impact on their cybersecurity strategy over the next five years, as AI systems are integrated into core enterprise security functions.

In late August, for example, The Wall Street Journal reported that criminals using AI-based software had successfully mimicked a German CEO’s voice and had duped the head of a UK subsidiary into sending €220,000 ($243,000) to a fraudulent account.

A lack of awareness of these technologies’ security implications can have far reaching consequences. At best an embarrassing fine and at worst a fatal blow to the bottom line. Now is the time for enterprises to work closely with their cybersecurity teams to design and develop 5G and AI products that place cybersecurity front and centre.

Charles White, CEO of IRM