The 5G network should make it possible to connect millions of things with the internet and is 100 times faster than the current 4G network. Nieuwsuur enlarges on the possibilities that 5G has to offer, but also the problems around the deployment of the network. One of the problems is the concern about Huawei. Huawei is the supplier of the 5G network and also partly administrator of the 4G network. The company is compromised with suspicion of espionage for the Chinese government.
Huawei recently opened a so called transparency center in Brussels as a reaction to the suspicions. Over there technicians, media and other interested parties can check the source code of their products. “This code can change after one update,” says Frank Groenewegen, Chief Security Expert at Fox-IT. “The software can be very safe at first, but updates can change that. How can you be sure of what really changed? A state actor can make use of new functionalities that come with an update. A network that seems safe now, can become unsafe soon.”
Fox-IT considers it important that the government implements new laws and regulations to check privatized organizations who have access to the Dutch infrastructure. We give too much of our vital infrastructure to tech companies we do not know well enough. The government as well as companies in the vital infrastructure do most of the time not know who they depend on and how resilient their security is. This dependency has grown the past years. There is now attention for the 5G discussion, but there are many more subjects where the protection of vital infrastructure should play a more important role.
Moreover Groenewegen emphasizes that our network can also be shut down by other countries than China. Tests show over and over again that networks are poorly secured. “At Fox-IT we frequently simulate attacks by state actors. In 99% of the cases we can easily enter a network without using backdoors. Also the network of companies in the vital infrastructure. It is important to consider 5G and Huawei, but our infrastructure needs to become more resilient in general.”
Watch the broadcast (in Dutch) here