Cybersecurity is always a big concern, and it’s even more top of mind amid the ongoing controversy over the role of Huawei in the build-out of 5G networks. Just last week, U.K. officials released a report that raised red flags about Huawei’s approach to cybersecurity.
But Gunter Reiss, vice president of worldwide marketing at Silicon Valley-based cybersecurity firm A10 Networks—who previously spent over 20 years at Ericsson—points to a much bigger picture when it comes to cybersecurity. In 5G, security will require the cooperation of everyone: equipment suppliers, service providers and regulators—and there’s no room for geopolitical shenanigans.
“I do believe there should be an open competition,” Reiss told FierceWirelessTech. “Technology should lead the decision-making process.” As an industry, “what we really need is close collaboration” around standards and cybersecurity, and that includes suppliers, service providers and government regulators.
Given the importance of 5G networks and services to countries’ national security, it is critical that suppliers, mobile operators, industries, standardization bodies, regulators and governments are closely collaborating on security requirements and enforcement. “This global team effort has never been more important than with 5G,” he said.
With more than 23 million DDoS weapons waiting to attack critical 5G infrastructure and services, “cyberdefense is a top priority for mobile operators and governments. 5G’s impact on transforming our global society and economies is beyond imagination," he said. "Thus, governments and mobile operators realize that choosing a mobile network supplier they can trust is essential.”
A10 rarely competes directly with Huawei, and it has partnered with the Chinese company in deployments with China Mobile, for example. But, A10 also works with other big system integrators as well.
Reiss acknowledged that his view may be an unpopular one given the current political climate in the U.S. regarding Huawei. But he believes technology should prevail over geopolitical concerns, i.e., every nation should make its own decisions on technology vendors and not lock certain ones out just because they’re from China.
Operators in the Competitive Carriers Association (CCA) that have deployed Huawei gear have pointed out that the source of the problem doesn’t end with one infrastructure vendor. Companies like Nokia use components from Chinese suppliers, so if there are concerns about national security, the U.S. government should delve deeper and follow the supply chain to determine where risks lie.
The need for 5G security impacts not only wireless but all the other industries that will be served with 5G. “I truly believe every single vertical industry will be disrupted by 5G,” Reiss said. “The community needs to work together on the security standards for 5G. We have to start thinking about the big picture.”
“5G is a new world where wireless technology and security have to work in harmony,” Reiss said. “A10 is laser-focused on this exact issue right now.”