6G Security Considerations

Dr. Anand R. Prasad and his colleague Hans Christian Rudolph did an excellent job on The 3G4G Blog explaining everything we needed to know about 5G Security. Now Anand has explained security considerations that must be borne in mind for 6G era.

Writing in a blog post on Wenovator, he explains:

During the 6G era, any remains of the walled garden will be torn down. Identity and authentication methods will allow even more flexibility and the credentials used will be saved in non-UICC-based software solutions. So as to achieve true ‘cloudification’, serverless technology will power parts of the mobile network. Much more diverse and intelligent smart devices will allow ubiquitous communication by various means. Everyone, everything will be connected everywhere. All these require for several security considerations that might as well require a complete shift in architecture.

Based on aspects discussed above, let us look at some of the security considerations that are likely going to influence 6G development and implementation:

  • More so than specifications to date, 6G mobile systems security will have to take complete system considerations, all the way from hardware to applications and end-to-end services
  • The system will have to allow various authentication and key management solutions, incl. algorithm and protocol flexibility, so as to cater for a variety of applications
  • Enhancements in services will also lead to re-consideration of complete key management, mobility security and considerations of security in different states various functions in mobile network can be in.
  • Given the variety of use-cases, services, devices, and users, security controls will have to be adaptable and dynamic in nature, supported by machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI).
  • With the continued rise of applications driven by AI/ML in 6G, we are bound to see attacks that exploit the models behind them. As these technologies mature further, so must their resiliency against abuse.
  • Further increases in bandwidth, lower latency, greater capacity and coverage will require that security solutions are optimized so as to minimize utilized resources and maximize throughput. 
  • As quantum computing advances and becomes more widely available, quantum resistance of security controls will be of increasing importance. This will result in a reconsideration of cryptographic algorithms used in 6G.
  • Asymmetric cryptographic was introduced into mobile communications for the first time with 5G. It is fair to assume that with 6G it will become even more prevalent.
  • Use of shared cloud environments will become ubiquitous as opposed to virtualization in mobile networks today leading to:
    • Need for proper security considerations for 6G mobile systems in cloud environments
    • Instant workload migration will require security associations and credentials to be appropriately managed as the communication endpoints in network shift continuously.
  • Radio access network (RAN) enhancements will lead to large number of base-stations that can be in different forms, e.g., cloud-based or WiFi access-point type. Thus, considerations for the base-station in different form and RAN will require re-consideration.
  • Up until now, as per specifications, credentials have to be stored in the USIM. In the era of 6G, we will likely see alternative forms of secure credential storage.
  • With better awareness and understanding of security by end users, there will be a greater demand for security visibility and configurability . Although existing specifications feature such capabilities to an extent, they are still not widely used.
  • As public mobile networks are expected to exchange information with broadening spectrum of 3rd parties, there will be a need for enhancements to interconnect security. Note, that interconnect in this context not only refers to peer network operators but also to emergency services, private networks, and others.
  • In addition, more and more partners will actively influence the network behavior for certain subscriber groups by utilizing service providers' network capabilities exposure. This calls for a new way of provisioning services and security to allow for the flexibility required in a 6G era.

You can read his complete blog post here.

Related Posts