The United States is offering various incentives for telecommunications companies that use non-Chinese equipment when setting up their 5G networks, The Wall Street Journal reports.
American officials at foreign affairs agencies say they are offering both workshops and a handbook to help policy makers in Central and Eastern Europe, as well as developing countries elsewhere, so they can build 5G networks in their countries without using gear made by Huawei Technologies or ZTE.
This includes training for people who regulate the rollout of a 5G network in their country. The effort is being led by the Commercial Law Development Program, a part of the Commerce Department.
“The Biden-Harris administration views 5G security as a high priority,” said Stephen Anderson, an acting deputy assistant secretary at the State Department who is focused on telecommunications and technology. He added that American officials will advise other countries on the costs, necessary regulations, and cybersecurity concerns about 5G networks in an effort to keep countries from using equipment made by Huawei or ZTE.
However, Scott Charney, Microsoft’s vice president of security policy, said recently at a conference that 5G networks will present new cybersecurity risks and priorities that have to be dealt with.
“We’re moving from a place where 5G is mostly in the endpoints and the radio spectrum — if you’re running on a 4G backbone — to a place where it’s really going to be cloud-enabled, end-to-end with virtualized, software-defined networks — and that poses a whole different threat model,” he said, according to Government Technology magazine.
And Shehzad Merchant, the chief technology officer at Gigamon, a cloud security and analytics firm, added that service providers should split up certain security functions between them, a model known as “shared security.”
He said, “If there’s a compromise, in that [shared security] model, who’s responsible for the failure? Is it the cloud provider? Is it the application provider? Is it the mobile service provider?”
Merchant added, “I don’t like more regulation, but I think this is a situation that probably needs to be more regulation on the security side.”
He went on to say that “we’ve gone from a monolithic, vertically integrated system to a completely distributed software system,” by moving to 5G.
“And that is leading to a massive expansion and explosion in the surface area of attack. 5G is essentially a services-based architecture where these services are now coming from open-source components, they’re coming from commercial vendors, they’re coming from contractors.”
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