How 5G End-to-End Encryption for Roaming Works | Syniverse 

Keep Your Network Integrity: How 5G End-to-End Encryption for Roaming Works

The introduction of 5G technology marks a new shift in telecommunications. It offers unparalleled speeds, low latency, and the ability to link an enormous number of devices. However, this progress isn’t without its risk and vulnerabilities.  It paves the way for increased security risks, especially regarding mobile roaming. In this post, we’ll break down the crucial elements of ensuring 5G end-to-end encryption for roaming. 

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Why 5G Opens the Door to Increased Needs for Security

The progress in 5G technology isn’t just about faster speeds and better efficiency. It transforms network architecture and the range of applications. With its service-based design, ability to create network slices, heavy reliance on software-defined networking (SDN), and network functions virtualization (NFV), 5G networks bring a complicated ecosystem that’s naturally more vulnerable to cyber-attacks. This complexity, along with the wide variety of 5G uses—from IoT gadgets to self-driving cars—makes it clear that robust security measures are more crucial than ever. 

The growing reach of 5G networks allows for uninterrupted connectivity no matter where users are. This underscores the critical need for 5G end-to-end encryption, particularly regarding roaming. As mobile users move around, their devices hop from one network to another. Each switch can potentially open security vulnerabilities if they are not properly protected. 

How Operators Can Secure Their Networks with 5G

Mobile network operators (MNOs) have a monumental task at hand to secure their 5G networks’ end-to-end architecture and infrastructure. This includes end-to-end 5G encryption. The importance of using sophisticated encryption standards to safeguard user data and manage plane information cannot be overstated 

The 5G end-to-end architecture framework comes with a robust security foundation that includes mutual authentication, 5G end-to-end encryption, integrity protection, and improvements in user privacy. These characteristics are in line with the GSMA’s guidelines for protecting mobile networks. 

Each network slice, serving different use cases, must have tailored security measures. This customization includes specific 5G end-to-end encryption protocols and access controls to safeguard the slice’s data and operations. MNOs must deploy sophisticated security operations centers (SOCs) for real-time threat detection, analysis, and response. 

The Need for Greater Security for 5G Roaming

The introduction of 5G networks brings with it a new set of security hurdles. This is especially the case when data has to pass through several networks, each with security measures and possible weak points. Maintaining unbroken security in such situations is critical, which calls for a more robust system for secure communications between networks. 

The Security Edge Protection Proxy (SEPP) is at the forefront of 5G roaming security. Sitting at the network’s frontier, SEPP serves as a gatekeeper of data traffic, making sure that all roaming interactions between MNOs are safe and reliable. It provides a secure bridge for interconnection and roaming between networks. Considering the immense focus on security in 5G, this could arguably be one of the most critical functions on the network. 

SEPP ensures that the data exchanged between networks is not tampered with, maintaining its integrity from source to destination. By encrypting the data, SEPP guarantees that sensitive information remains confidential and accessible only to intended recipients. 

Replay protection prevents attackers from re-sending intercepted messages. SEPP safeguards against identity spoofing, ensuring that the data genuinely originates from the claimed source. Topology hiding works by concealing the internal structure of the network. This way, SEPP minimizes the risk of targeted attacks that exploit network topology knowledge. 

SEPP takes all roaming interfaces and wraps them up into one secure interface. It’s like putting your data in a high-security vault before sending it off to partner operators. This streamlining process makes managing the security of roaming interfaces a breeze while also boosting communications safety across networks.  

The Nexus of 5G Roaming and Security

As 5G networks continue to increase, securing roaming communications becomes increasingly critical. The introduction of SEPP represents a significant stride towards achieving 5G end-to-end encryption and security for international roaming. 

For years, Syniverse has been a trusted name in the realm of network security, with our IPX being one of our core offerings. Our expertise in securing interconnected mobile networks is vast and varied, spanning from SS7 and Diameter to the latest signaling security over HTTP2. 

We go the extra mile to safeguard our customers’ networks by implementing encryption and establishing secure domains—an essential step for 5G roaming. Whether it’s a case of an operator connecting with another operator or linking up with a private wireless network, we uphold stringent security standards. 

Upgrade Your 5G Security! 

( Senior Product Manager- 5G Solutions )

Over 20 years in the Telecoms field, which specialization on roaming, Mobile network connectivity, OSP management, Client management and customer experience management. I have been at Syniverse for almost 5 years. My previous roles included Mobile/Roaming services Manager for Telecom operators in Trinidad and Tobago, as well as Operations Management for a major FTTH Build and in-home delivery in the Caribbean. I am a native of Trinidad and Tobago and have resided in the United States for over 5 years. Strong Operations, product, and customer management background, with experience on both the Operator and Supplier sides of the industry.



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