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By Bruce Sussman
Thu | Sep 3, 2020 | 2:08 PM PDT

Can your organization's information security program become a market differentiator for your brand?

Verizon must be betting that it is.

This week, the company made a significant announcement about the 5G network it is rolling out, and that announcement focused on security.

Verizon tries to stand out on 5G network cybersecurity 

The company rolled out a new whitepaper on its 5G network security and how the company claims to be a standout in the space.

Srini Kalapala, Vice President of Network Planning for Verizon, sums it up like this:

"In all aspects of our network, from the core of the network, to the radio access edge, even to the customer device, we have built our network to be secure.

From design, to implementation, to deployment the 5G network, built on the foundation of the best 4G security, is the gold-standard in the industry. We will not compromise when it comes to the security of our network and that of our customers' data."

4 steps to future-proof 5G security

While 5G itself is new and emerging, Verizon says it is already looking to the future of threats for the technology.

It lists four steps it is taking to "future-proof" its technology.

  1. Security Network Accelerators to improve latency and operational efficiency:
    "As network operations become more complex, additional purpose-built hardware supporting security functions such as firewalls, IDS, DDoS, Probes and Packet brokers are deployed throughout the network. The addition of this hardware introduces additional latency and opens the door for greater maintenance as well as additional points of vulnerability. To solve for this, Verizon engineers have virtualized many of these functions and moved them to the cloud." 

  2. AI and Machine Learning (ML):
    "Verizon engineers are developing an AI ML Security Framework which will offer additional protection in the AI ML models that power the network. This AI ML Security Framework will help verify the providence of information being fed into AI ML algorithms, ensure the AI ML models are operating correctly, and will manage the security around where that information goes and how it is interpreted and used."
  3. Leveraging confidentiality and integrity of data at the network's core:
    "Understanding the criticality of both the confidentiality and integrity of data, Verizon is working with Guardtime and WWT to provide near real-time, non-repudiated evidence of tampering in a machine’s state while also providing meaningful reductions in time between a machine’s compromise and its detection.

    If a security breach or incident occurs, it is critical to be able to quickly identify changes in data. With the amount of data stored in systems today, identifying breaches in data integrity can be a time consuming and onerous task. Verizon engineers and our vendors are using cryptographically secure functions to create digital fingerprints of data and store them in a blockchain so they cannot be modified."

  4. Secure Credentialing Management System (SCMS) for Connected Vehicles:
    "Connected vehicles need to connect to each other, to roadside infrastructure, to other road users and to cloud-based services. SCMS is the fundamental mechanism to ensure those connections are protected against attacks on integrity, confidentiality, and repudiation. The SCMS provides digitally signed certificates and activation codes that are used to validate vehicle safety messages."

Read the new white paper here: First Principles for Securing 5G

Let's see if other companies make as big of a deal around 5G security as they do their individual roll-outs.

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