Though the benefits receive the spotlight, 5G brings risks most companies have not fully reckoned with


5G will expand the attack surface for industrial IoT (IIOT) applications, according to a new report on 2021 cyber trends from Booz Allen Hamilton.

According to the report: “Organizations need to reconsider the structure of IIOT network setups, and vendors need to present secure, actionable solutions to organizations using their ICS/OT products.”



The report makes a few key points consistent with Cyberhedge’s view on the larger trend of an accelerated merging of IT and OT:

  1. Vulnerabilities will grow as digital technologies like 5G become more ubiquitous across core operational functions for companies.
  2. Attacks will get more costly because the increased connectivity between industrial control systems (ICS) and digital technologies/IoT means operational disruptions—the most costly form of cyber attack—will become more disruptive and more costly when they do occur.
  3. The effective management of a security stack is critical: Understand capabilities of all technologies, proper configurations, redundancies in capabilities between tools, software updates is key to successfully mitigating the growing risks.

Top performing companies across all sectors understand how to balance the financial benefits of increased digitization with the need to systematically manage the heightened risks that come with it. This is by no means a simple task for companies transitioning away from legacy technologies, as the report highlights.

We wrote in an Alert on GE that the poor management of these risks, from third party vendors to the first tier service providers (like Siemens, GE), pose a systemic risk to the public and investors alike. As such, the management of the downside risks deserves more attention from regulators and investors, especially involving companies that form part of the world’s critical physical and financial infrastructure.

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