5G and 6G wireless technologies have security issues

Network security concerns remain an issue with the upcoming 5G and 6G wireless network standards.

That’s because security measures being aren’t being adopted in new 5G standards, and there’s a newly discovered potential for Man-in-the-Middle attacks in terahertz-based 6G networks, multiple research studies have discovered.

One of those studies — a formal analysis of 5G authentication conducted by scientists from ETH Zurich, the University of Lorraine/INRIA, and the University of Dundee — found that criminals will be able intercept 5G communications and steal data because “critical security gaps are present,” the group says in their press release. That’s in part because “security goals are underspecified” and there’s a “lack of precision” in the 3GPP standards, they say.

In a second, unrelated report published this month by researchers at Brown University, Rice University, and University at Buffalo, scientists have discovered serious vulnerabilities in 5G’s successor: terahertz data communications networks.

Terahertz is the extremely high-frequency wavelength located between microwave and infra-red that will probably make up the currently only-on-paper 6G networks, which will launch in perhaps 10 years from now. Submillimeter, up to terahertz spectrum, is well above the frequencies that are being used for about-to-be-released 5G. That’s in millimeter spectrum. 6G should provide even more reliability and latency reduction than 5G — if it works.

The miniscule frequencies of terahertz have led many to believe they are too tiny to intercept — that a Man-in-the-Middle receiver placed in the narrow, directional terahertz beam to eavesdop would block the entire transmission and be detected immediately. Research now shows, however, that assumption is wrong.

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