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How will a 5G network increase Cyber risk?

Oct 31, 2019

Feels like yesterday we were talking about 4G, and technology is already making way for a “fifth-generation” (5G) cellular network. Predicted to be a complete game-changer, 5G’s primary role is to support the growing number of devices that demand internet access, many of them requiring so much bandwidth to function, that 4G is becoming inadequate.

It will deliver unimaginable speeds many times faster than the current 4G network, as well as allow decentralised seamless interconnectivity between devices (even down to our photoelectric interconnected wireless smoke alarms). It is predicted that by 2020, there will already be 20 billion connected devices.

5G devices and broadband services are already here, and with that comes the complexity of managing Cyber risks which are predicted to explode. While 5G brings with it the promise of high-speed complex distributed systems, the greater their role in critical infrastructure, the greater the system risk and potential for cyber risk contagion – potentially magnifying the consequences of a Cyber Attack.

5G will impact every industry, as devices are designed to track real-time progress, give alerts, increase automation and bring a deluge of accurate and up-to-date information.

Perhaps the greatest challenge going forward will be the fear around privacy issues, security breaches and espionage. Securing devices which traditionally have limited capacity and low bandwidth, and now have 5G connectivity is going to be a real challenge. Which is why it’s important to assess your current Cyber Risk and develop an appropriate risk mitigation strategy.

Any device that is able to collect, process and share information via the internet and a 5G network could pose a risk, and the impact of data breaches from malicious cyber-attacks, system failures and human error will only continue to worsen and increase.

Traditionally devices have had poor security features, and that may not change with the arrival of 5G. Hackers will be able to exploit 5G’s speed and volume, meaning they can steal data faster and easier.

Cyber Risks to a business include the restoration of data, forensic investigation, cyber extortion, claims arising from security failures, damage to third party systems, public relations expenses, defamation, identity theft management, privacy and intellectual property claims, and the potential of increasing fines and penalties.

Trying to figure out who is liable in these instances will be a long and drawn-out process, requiring Insurance claims to be finalised in court, which can be a costly process.  These costs can be covered in a stand-alone Business Cyber Insurance Policy.

If your business relies on technology to function, now is a good time to look at your processes, put together a risk mitigation strategy, train staff on the use of technology, and talk to your Austbrokers Comsure Adviser about a Cyber Insurance policy and why you need it in place today.

Contact Austbrokers Comsure on 1800 122 194 for more information.


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