Protecting digital lives in the age of 5G


5G ushers in the promise of powerful innovation, supported by rapid speed, mega-low latency and unprecedented quality of service. There is no doubt it will improve society and accelerate the vision of smarter, more connected homes.

The ultra-high performance of 5G networks will mean consumers, in the long run, will no longer require wifi routers, instead attaching almost ubiquitously to their operator’s network, wherever they are. Not just on their smartphones, but also on tablets, PCs and smart devices.

In parallel with all these great benefits, however, a new wave of cybersecurity threats and challenges will arise. The sheer number of connected devices will allow for bigger botnets, while more bandwidth will enable much larger distribution denial of service (DDoS) attack capacity. Greater visibility of devices on 5G networks will create entirely new attack vectors for cybercriminals.

Put simply, 5G networks will amplify the number of threat vectors facing devices and consumers. Family security, privacy and online safety present significant concerns for people, making advanced network security a necessity. The ability to offer a converged protection from malware, network attacks and fine-grained parental controls over access and content will be a valuable differentiating service.

“There are going to be a lot of new things that families and employers will need to think about in terms of internet safety and privacy with the realisation of 5G,” says Sean Obrey, head of sales for the Partner Business Unit at Avast, the largest global cybersecurity company with more than 435 million users.

“This will require solutions that understand the ways people want to live and manage their connected lives and those of their children and employees. The myriad new applications of 5G will make it tough to manage security and privacy control, especially as there will no longer be a router in the home to act as an important aggregator.”

The myriad of new applications of 5G will make it tough to manage security and privacy control

Avast recently launched Avast Smart Life for 5G, a smart home security solution for 5G, delivered as a virtualised network function. The solution enables operators to secure their subscribers’ smart home and connected devices at the virtual-network level, based on Avast’s threat detection technology driven by artificial intelligence (AI).

By analysing traffic and immediately blocking security risks on a consumer’s devices, Avast Smart Life for 5G protects people’s digital lives and allows them to connect wherever and however they want. Parental controls mean families can filter the content and apps their children can access.

End-point security has always required some kind of installation on a device, which becomes increasingly onerous as society is more connected. Utilising AI, Avast’s technology taps into parts of the data stream to get certain identifiers about each connected session, protecting consumers from malicious activity without them ever having to install any software on their individual devices. Instead, consumers simply sign up once for protection to secure all their different devices.

“It’s one-click protection and it’s transforming the customer journey in cybersecurity,” says Obrey. “We can protect any device, whenever it connects to a network. We have one of the largest threat-intelligence networks in the world, which fuels our machine learning-based protection for our customers. All that information drives our vast wealth of knowledge to protect individual devices as they connect to the internet.

“To keep people secure in the 5G age, we need to understand the different types of malware threats and anomalies coming to their devices, analyse them very quickly, and create the signatures and the data patterns we know help us protect those devices and block that behaviour.”

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