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We are gradually heading towards a world in which 5G technology is going to be universal, and in which high-speed data exchange is going to reach hitherto unknown levels. The potentials of 5G are immense, but, like all new technology, we must be cautious about the possible cybersecurity risks that it can entail, especially when faced with a technology that requires such a large deployment of technology.

Faced with these challenges, Spain has decided to become one of the leading countries in fifth-generation communication, which would revolutionize our relationship with the Internet, a new hyper-connected world in which data is transmitted from sectors as sensitive as the banking sector., energy, health … etc.

In other words, the arrival of 5G technology will not only mean a new generation of devices and networks, but it has the potential to completely transform our society and the world in which we live.

What does 5G offer us?

5G technology is currently in a continuous R&D process, especially fueled by trade frictions between the US and China. But, nevertheless, the most notable possibilities that 5G offers us are:

Higher network speed, with a capacity 100 times higher than 4G

• Greater flexibility in the management of interconnected devices

• Lower latency between data, which will lead to applications communicating in real time

• Lower consumption, which will reduce the size of devices and facilitate the Internet of Things (IoT)

And what risks does 5G entail?

Beyond hoaxes and crazy conspiracy theories, the implementation of 5g technology has to face multiple challenges, both in the installation of infrastructures, as well as in investments, as well as in cybersecurity. Of all these challenges, one of the most interesting is cybersecurity. This danger has been fully evident in the study carried out by the European Commission itself in 2019.

This study highlights the possibility that the implementation of 5G networks will exponentially increase cyber-attacks, since the increase in interconnected devices with their consequent computer programs will increase security flaws that could be exploited by cybercriminals.

In the same way, being a technology that highly depends on a very limited set of operators, it creates the possibility that a supply cut may occur, a serious problem if we consider the transformative possibility of 5G on a social and economic level.

On the other hand, the use of companies outside the European Union implies the possibility of opening all our conversations with foreign information agencies.

Obviously, in this technological revolution we will not only meet actors whose purposes are legitimate, but it will also open the door to new cybercriminals who will take advantage of a technology that will be introduced into our lives at levels never before imagined. All this forces us to review our legal framework regarding telecommunications and cyber security, a new way of understanding the internet that must permeate all the actors involved, from manufacturers, governments or citizens.

What should users do?

Beyond the future actions of the large players (countries, companies, conglomerates …), user action is presented to us as a vital factor in the face of future changes that 5G entails.

It is essential that users become aware as consumers of the importance of cybersecurity in the products and services they purchase, thus transforming the global security of 5G networks.

In the same way, it is essential to use good practices such as modifying the passwords that come by default, updating our devices, keeping up to date with the latest techniques used by cybercriminals, so that we can recognize and avoid them … etc.

Like it or not, 5G technology is going to transform the way we understand the internet and our society, so it is essential that we guarantee its security. For this reason, it is essential that users are aware of the risks and threats that it entails, because our knowledge is the first defense against cybercriminals.