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5G & IoT vs Cyber Security - Addressing the elephant in the Room

5G & IoT vs Cyber Security - Addressing the elephant in the Room"
5G & IoT vs Cyber Security - Addressing the elephant in the Room
Naman Agrawal and Neeraj Sinha


With hackers trying to break into a computer every 39 seconds on an average, cybersecurity continues to be the number one “external concern” for Indian policymakers and industry leaders, regardless of their industry. The annual costs of these attacks are expected to reach an incredible $6 trillion by 2021, according to Cyber Security Ventures.

As a result of this data privacy crisis, major companies are boosting internal investments in cybersecurity and collaborating with industry tycoons to protect their customers’ data. Looking forward, 2020-21 promises to be the year when several cybersecurity trends converge. 5G and the Internet of Things (IoT) will also add billions of internet-connected devices into the world. Each of these is a potential target for hackers. Further, the tech talent crisis will continue to affect the data privacy sector disproportionately. That is because the number of job openings for cybersecurity experts is increasing faster than the supply of these specialists.

5G and IoT

The fifth generation of wireless technology is already here. Telecommunications companies like Reliance, AT&T and Sprint have begun testing and rolling out 5G service in major cities of the world, and consumers are expected to have full access to the technology by the end of 2021.

5G tech is important because it will make IoT a reality. This interconnected network of internet-enabled devices already exists. However, its potential is limited by the slow speeds of 4G wireless. The ultra-fast 5G network will allow these devices to transfer exponentially more information, with download speeds of up to 10 Gbps.

The upcoming 5G rollout is one reason why experts predict that more than 36 billion devices will be connected to the internet by the end of 2020. Unfortunately, all of them will be exposed to security threats. In fact, research has found that the “first wave of IoT attacks” had already begun in 2016.

This makes the expanded IoT a nightmare for cybersecurity experts, who must figure out how to protect cell phones, security systems, vehicles, smart homes and more devices from being breached.


The authors are Naman Agrawal, Senior Associate, NITI Aayog and Neeraj Sinha, Senior Adviser (S&T), NITI Aayog.

Views expressed are personal.