5G Goodby Security, Hello China


Today you sit at your secure computer. You have a firewall set up. You bought anti-virus software. Your online banking info is encrypted. You have the latest version of your operating system. You turn off your computer when you are not using it. You fold your hands and say, “I am safe.”

Well sorry to burst your bubble but there is a wrecking ball swinging towards you. It is called 5G. What is 5G? 5G is the fifth generation of cellular networking that is rapidly being developed to replace 4G networks. It will increase bandwidth and allow for much more cyber information to be communicated in shorter periods of time. Everything will be greatly sped up and we will be propelled into a new age of internet capability.

The problem is that the world is moving way too quickly towards 5G and has gotten its one foot tripped up by its other as it is headed for a toppling over. 5G is moving forward without addressing serious problems and threats inherent in the system.

What threats are inherent in the system? There are a number of serious concerns. For one, most 5G is not yet “quantum resistant.” One of the up-and-coming waves of technology that will hit us after 5G is quantum computers. This is a completely different kind of computing technology than what we use today. It has new capabilities, one of which is to undo encryption. Right now most personal information (including your banking info)on the internet is encrypted in some way. This protects you from having it deciphered by a hacker. However it is believed that quantum computers will be able to undo 99% of encryption. That means that unless something is done, you have a 1% chance of protecting your personal info.

Criminals, cyber-bullies, cyber-terrorists, and other hackers are tickled pink over the greater access and expanded capabilities that 5G will afford them. Hacking and crypto-jacking will be taken to a new level with 5G technology. Spam, malware and scamming will potentially increase exponentially.

Bad news, just wait, it gets worse. While society is racing forward and tripping over its own feet, it is about to fall into the arms of the communist party of China. Why do I say this? Because China is at the head of this technology. The concern is because Chinese hardware and software could contain backdoor surveillance components to it. In fact, the hardware could be made to shut down on hidden instructions. Don't Chinese manufacturers work independently from their government? No not necessarily. China's Internet Security Law compels Chinese companies to help the communist government whenever called upon. In China, the government takes the right to do anything it wants and answers to no one.

China has soared to the top of the technology ladder with its companies Huawei and ZTE being the most ready providers for this new technology. The free world is lagging behind; however the European companies Nokia and Ericsson claim that they can also deliver this technology. There are at least 50 countries that have signed up with China's inexpensive, ready-to-go 5G provider, Huawei.

How did Huawei beat out their competitors? Well, in China they don't really have competitors. All wireless carriers are state owned and, if necessary, are bailed out by the state. Huawei has been accused of intellectual property theft  and corporate espionage, as well as copying proprietary source code from Cisco Systems equipment. China doesn't play by the same rules as the rest of the world and so they rise to the top.

Would China, not playing by the rules, turn other nations off from buying the technology off of them? The United States under president Donald Trump has stopped his country from using Huawei for 5G.  However, many of the European countries, and others, have signed up with China. Their eyes are on the money and on the speed by which it can be set up. They want Huawei's ready-to-go system. Canada has not yet capitulated to Huawei. However, Trump threw another curve ball at China by banning U.S. machinery and software from being used for manufacturing semiconductors for Huawei.

As the United States and China wrestle over the new technology, other countries are rushing in to buy 5G. Canada is holding out, but for how long? If we cave and go with a Chinese 5G, then be ready for the wrecking ball because most of 5G is not quantum resistant. Encryption will be obsolete, your personal information will be available like never before. Cyber criminals will be handed an incredible technology to propel them forward. Spam, malware and scamming will be facilitated like never before. China will be rewarded for its intellectual property theft  and corporate espionage. China has its fingers on the controls and we will be subject to their surveillance as we go flying into their arms in one big fumbling fall, tripping over our own feet.

Can we just skip 5G?

Shawn Stevens