How Businesses Should Prepare for New Security Risks of 5G

After many years of development, the first commercial rollouts of 5G, or “fifth generation” of wireless networks, are beginning this year. This new network promises to empower a new era of mobile communications and ubiquitous connectivity that will enable things like self-driving cars and millions of new wireless devices to be connected to the next generation of cellular networks.

But along with this new era of opportunity comes a new age of risk. 5G’s advanced technology and innovative use cases are opening a host of new vulnerabilities and malicious possibilities that security experts are now intensely focused on identifying and preparing for.

Syniverse has been right in the thick of helping companies with navigating the promises and challenges of this next technology horizon, and a few weeks ago I had an opportunity to share our latest insights at the GSMA Mobile 360 – Security for 5G conference in The Hague, Netherlands. The event brought together over 250 senior telecommunications leaders from 28 countries to examine the security challenges of 5G and analyze the latest security initiatives in place to protect the networks of tomorrow.

The highlight for Syniverse was our participation in a “Security for 5G” predictions panel in which I joined several distinguished mobile and cybersecurity experts to discuss the most important challenges that 5G will bring this year and what steps businesses should take to prepare for them now. As part of this event, ahead of the panel, I had the chance to record answers to four related questions that I think are crucial for today’s companies to consider in their plans for 5G. I encourage you to take a look at them.

Me (second from left), speaking at the Security for 5G” predictions panel at the GSMA Mobile 360 — Security for 5G conference in the Netherlands in May.

5G will soon play an essential role in our future, where many facets of the world in which we live, work, and play will be integrated with and powered by mobile. Syniverse is looking forward to playing a central role in helping businesses get ready for this fast-moving future, while doing so securely.

  • What are your top two predictions for the next year relating to 5G and cybersecurity?
  • Why is it important to start focusing on security for 5G now?
  • What do you see as the most important threats that 5G presents?
  • How does the private-network approach fit in with 5G security?

As Senior Vice President and Chief Security and Risk Officer, Phil Celestini leads security and risk management across Syniverse, including adopting new technologies and building industry awareness of critical threats and opportunities arising from such areas as the internet of things, 5G, artificial intelligence, and blockchain. With a career spanning more than 35 years across government, law enforcement, and the military, Phil brings extensive executive leadership experience in security, risk, and compliance. From 1992 to 2018, he served as a Special Agent in the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), where he was most recently Special Agent in Charge in Washington, D.C., and where he also served as the FBI’s senior representative to the National Security Agency and U.S. Cyber Command among other roles. In addition to his investigative acumen, Phil is an acknowledged expert in cyber and information security. He earned several commendations and community honors as FBI Special Agent, serving in positions of increasing leadership responsibility in numerous field offices, FBI headquarters, and on the National Security and Homeland Security Councils at the White House. Prior to his FBI career, he served as an intelligence operations officer in the U.S. Air Force. He received his bachelor’s degree from the U.S. Air Force Academy and a master’s degree in public safety leadership from Capella University.



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