By Bill Hagerstrand, Security Solutions BU, Marvell
Time to grab a cup of coffee, as I describe how the transition towards open, disaggregated, and virtualized networks – also known as cloud-native 5G – has created new challenges in an already-heightened 4G-5G security environment.
5G networks move, process and store an ever-increasing amount of sensitive data as a result of faster connection speeds, mission-critical nature of new enterprise, industrial and edge computing/AI applications, and the proliferation of 5G-connected IoT devices and data centers. At the same time, evolving architectures are creating new security threat vectors. The opening of the 5G network edge is driven by O-RAN standards, which disaggregates the radio units (RU), front-haul, mid-haul, and distributed units (DU). Virtualization of the 5G network further disaggregates hardware and software and introduces commodity servers with open-source software running in virtual machines (VM’s) or containers from the DU to the core network.
As a result, these factors have necessitated improvements in 5G security standards that include additional protocols and new security features. But these measures alone, are not enough to secure the 5G network in the cloud-native and quantum computing era. This blog details the growing need for cloud-optimized HSMs (Hardware Security Modules) and their many critical 5G use cases from the device to the core network.