5G: More connections, more speed, more risks

Discover how to protect your privacy, digital assets and maybe even your money.

10 Oct 2019

Key takeaways

  • The revolutionary speed of 5G will set the stage for an expansion of connected Internet of Things (IoT) devices, creating many opportunities for business innovation throughout the economy
  • Even one unsecured device puts you and your Internet history, passwords and personal data at risk
  • Good digital security habits help protect your privacy, digital assets and maybe even your money

If you’ve had a smartphone since the beginning, you’ve already seen the speed and capabilities of your phone improve by leaps and bounds.

One major upgrade along the way has been how wireless networks operate. The move from generation to generation has enabled exciting innovations in mobile computing, and the next generation, 5G, is now being rolled out.

But with new technology comes new risks. Planning ahead and putting the right security in place can help protect your digital files, financial assets and privacy as the next wave of connected devices land in your home, office and pocket.

5G offers faster speeds than ever before

“5G wireless probably won’t look like everything else. It won’t be as centered on mobile as prior generations of wireless,” says Kevin Dennean, Technology and Communication Services Analyst, Americas from the UBS Chief Investment Office. “There’s certainly been a lot of progress in 5G technology.”

5G is such a big upgrade that we are going to be done talking about speeds in megabits per second. Instead, 5G speeds will top out around 10 gigabits per second. At that speed, you can download a movie in just a few seconds. Plus, your phone’s connection speed will be faster than the speed you currently get at home with a hard-wired connection.

The impact will go far beyond smartphones, though. The ability to carry more data and at faster speeds will set the stage for a considerable expansion of connected Internet of Things (IoT) devices and other technologies, such as self-driving cars. As a result, there will be a huge opportunity for business innovation across many areas of the economy.

“The pace of 5G adoption is actually forecasted to be relatively faster than prior generations due to the promised speed and capacity upgrades that 5G enables,” Dennean explains. Enabling IoT devices and the benefits to businesses point to a faster growing subscriber base compared to previous generations. Consistent with this prediction, industry analysts at Ovum expect 1.3 billion 5G subscribers by 2023.

More connected devices means more opportunities for risk

Faster Internet speeds may lead you to buy and install more connected devices around your home. Connected cameras, door locks and appliances certainly add convenience, but they also come with serious risks.

In recent years, there have been many high-profile cases of smart TVs, baby monitors and other IoT devices getting hacked by bad actors from around the world.

The thing is, a weakness in a single device on your network could give criminals access to your Internet history, passwords and personal data. That’s why it’s important to carefully consider security before adding any new device to your network.

From thermostats to data centers, cyber security is vital

You probably already know to protect your laptop and smartphone with antivirus software. But you might not have considered the security of other devices around your home, car or even your body.

With current home and mobile connections, a cyber criminal only needs one weak point to access your information. That vulnerability could be in the software in your new digital thermostat or it could be a bug in the data center of your connected picture frame.

It isn’t enough to keep your devices updated, though you certainly should. You must also investigate the security of the company that provides the device.

Practice good cyber security habits in the 5G generation

“Wireless carriers are one of the first industries that will benefit from the 5G upgrade, and there are actually 5G-capable mobile devices on the market right now,” says Dennean. The full potential of 5G isn’t here yet, but it is just around the corner.

When you see exciting new devices on the shelf, don’t put them in your cart until you’re sure they live up to a high security standard. Following good digital security habits can help protect your privacy, digital assets and maybe even your money.

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