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News | Nov. 21, 2022

Cybersecurity Speaker Series: 5G Security Impacts National Security

FORT MEADE, Md. — The National Security Agency (NSA) Cybersecurity Collaboration Center released the latest video in its Cybersecurity Speaker Series today, focusing on how 5G security factors into national security. The Speaker Series provides a forum for NSA to share insights, lessons, and contributions of its work in cybersecurity.
In today’s video, NSA’s Cybersecurity Technical Fellow Dr. Josiah Dykstra sat down with NSA’s Enduring Security Framework (ESF) Chief Natalie Pittore and NSA’s lead for 5G Developing Standards Martin Goldberg.

The fifth-generation (5G) of wireless technology represents the next evolution of mobile communications networks, introducing a wealth of new connections, capabilities, and services. From automobiles to mobile phones to warfighting capabilities, 5G is revolutionizing the way the world communicates and shares information.
Imagine billions of connected devices gathering and sharing information in real time. 5G supports applications such as smart homes and buildings, smart cities, and remote medical services. 5G technologies also support massive machine-to-machine communications for industry automation. These new functionalities and new services necessitate a new way of deploying advanced mobile services as well as new approaches in making 5G technologies work together.

“5G security is a critical component of national security. At NSA we have a robust cybersecurity mission and so it’s a priority that 5G have all of the security baked into it from the very beginning,” said Pittore. “NSA is also a combat support agency; our mission is to ensure the warfighter can accomplish their mission with reliable trusted secure communication.”
5G is more than just upgrading wireless communications; 5G is connecting systems that will enable huge amounts of data to be wirelessly processed in real time-anywhere in the world.
“What makes 5G truly special is it is an enabler technology for other types of products, so consider smart cities or intelligence traffic systems,” said Goldberg. “The importance from 5G is it is not a one-size-fits-all types of technology. Previously with 4G, it was only really designed for the user. 5G can give connectivity to traffic lights, where it doesn’t need as much bandwidth as a smartphone does.”
Standard Development Organizations (SDOs) play a key role in securing products meant for 5G before production begins. The purpose of standards is to come to agreement on functionality, features, interoperability, and security for emerging technologies. Developing standards ensures solutions will be available to users and developers across different sectors and ecosystems. 
“With 5G becoming a part of the application, you have to trust that connection, trust that the message is getting through. We need to approach security on day one and actually be involved in standards bodies so that it’s a part of the equation and not something after-the-fact,” said Goldberg.
To hear more about 5G from NSA’s ESF and 5G developing standards lead, watch the full video.
Visit NSA’s YouTube channel to see all episodes of the Cybersecurity Speaker Series.

VIDEO | 08:16 | Cybersecurity Speaker Series: 5G Security Impacts National Security