NSA Secures 5G Through Partnerships

NSA’s Cybersecurity mission includes working to secure future technologies. As imminently emerging technology, 5G will change the way both military and National Security Systems operate, and NSA is partnering across industry and government, along with standards bodies, to support the construction of a secure network.
5G, or fifth generation network, promises to be a major upgrade from previous generations. New 5G technologies will support many new and exciting use cases. The increase in speed will enable a new generation of innovation and business to flourish.
NSA has partnered with fellow government agencies to support the security of 5G. The Enduring Security Framework (ESF) team has been working with partners at the Department of Homeland Security, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, the National Security Council, and more. They are partnering with industry to deep dive into threats, standards, cloud, and analytics. Each of these areas will have a dedicated public-private partnership effort to examine the risks associated with their subject matter and pursue technical solutions. The cumulative goal is to jointly improve the ability of the 5G infrastructure to identify and build threat models, detect threats in networks, recover from attacks, and securely leverage the benefits of virtualization.
To secure the full scope of 5G use cases, it is critical that strong cybersecurity practices are incorporated. The recently launched Center for Cybersecurity Standards (CCSS) looks at 5G from a viewpoint of securing NSS and contributing to working groups within standards bodies to secure 5G mobile infrastructure. Through engagements with 3GPP, ATIS, IETF and IEEE, CCSS is raising the bar for security in the 5G ecosystem and making sure secure options exist for use on NSS. As subject matter experts, NSA leverages our legacy in secure cryptography and network security to ensure 5G standards will protect NSS data by working with the carriers to ensure that they are requiring optional security settings.
The impact of 5G technologies will be felt well beyond NSS to include numerous IoT devices transforming our personal and professional lives. These devices are smarter and will use 5G to provide new edge computing capabilities, greatly impacting many parts of our society, including manufacturing (through its impact on robotics and Smart Warehouses), transportation (such as smart cars and the smart infrastructure they rely on), and healthcare (through impacts on tele-health and even remote surgery).
The full evolution to 5G will take time – time to develop the supporting standards, produce the technology, and upgrade the infrastructure across the U.S. and around the world to support the full extent of this technology. Since customers will be using 5G, strengthening U.S. infrastructure is vital to maintaining a military and economic edge.

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