top of page

Mass Communication-Verizon Boosts 5G Security, Deploys Quantum Key Distribution-BAIM PICK SELECTS

Verizon announced several steps it’s taking to harden its 5G network security including quantum-based key encryption and security network accelerators.

In one blog posted today, Verizon detailed how it will use quantum technology to continuously generate encryption keys, which protect data. The operator recently trialed quantum key distribution (QKD) in the Washington, D.C. area, and it plans to be one of the first carriers to pilot QKD in the U.S.

Quantum computers will allow data scientists to solve computations significantly faster than traditional computers — but they also make it easier for hackers to crack encryption keys. And while the high cost of quantum computing prohibits widespread adoption (for good or evil) right now, this will change in the future as costs decrease. And, as security researchers warned at the annual RSA security conference earlier this year, some criminals and nation states are already syphoning encrypted data today so that they can use quantum to unlock it at a later date.

Quantum Key Distribution

QKD, on the other hand, uses quantum technology to strengthen data security. It continuously generates encryption keys that are immune to attacks because any disruption to the channel breaks the quantum state of photons, which signals hackers are eavesdropping.

For the trial, Verizon used a QKD network to continuously generate keys and encrypt live video streams over a fiber network between three locations: the Washington D.C. Executive Briefing Center, the 5G Lab in D.C., and Verizon’s Ashburn, Virginia office. Verizon also demonstrated that data can be further secured with keys generated using a quantum random number generator, which creates random numbers that can’t be predicted.

“Verizon’s own tests, as well as other industry testing, have shown that deriving ‘secret keys’ between two entities via light photons effectively blocks perfect cloning by an eavesdropper if a key intercept is attempted,” said IDC analyst Christina Richmond in a Verizon blog about the trial. “Current technological breakthroughs have proven that both the quantum channel and encrypted data channel can be sent over a single optical fiber. Verizon has demonstrated this streamlined approach brings greater efficiency for practical large-scale implementation allowing keys to be securely shared over wide-ranging networks.”

Verizon 5G Security Network Accelerators

In a second blog posted today, Verizon outlined its efforts to boost 5G security across its network. This includes using network accelerators for some security functions that can’t be virtualized and moved to the cloud.

Verizon engineers are working to install programmable network accelerators that mesh together multiple high-performance, latency-dependent security functions into a single, artificial-intelligence (AI) and machine-learning (ML) driven device. This will reduce operational expenses and the need for manual programming. The operator says it is working with the University of California Santa Barbara to develop an AI/ML-driven firewall and intrusion detection system capabilities in a whitebox network accelerator.

Verizon is also developing an AI ML Security Framework that it says will verify the provenance of information fed into AI/ML algorithms, ensure the AI/ML models operate correctly, and manage the security around how that information is used. Engineers are currently trialing the framework in two use cases: one to detect security anomalies in the network, and the other to analyze multiple-input multiple-output (MIMO) antenna performance at cell towers.

Machine State Integrity Project

Additionally, Verizon is working with Guardtime and WWT on a machine state integrity project to provide near real-time, non-repudiated evidence of tampering in a machine’s state while also reducing the time between a machine’s compromise and its detection. This will help ensure that if a security breech or incident occurs, organizations can quickly identify any changes to their data.

This project uses cryptographically secure functions to create digital fingerprints of data and store them in a blockchain so they cannot be modified. By comparing fingerprints stored in the blockchain to fingerprints taken during or after a cyber-attack, companies can more quickly determine if the integrity of their data was compromised.

Verizon, Guardtime, and WWT are preparing to trial this new technology. When complete, Verizon says engineers will be able to leverage machine state integrity to more effectively protect the data on the Verizon network including configuration of towers and Verizon Cloud servers.

Connected Vehicle Security

And finally, Verizon and LG recently conducted a test at the Mcity Test Track in Ann Arbor, Michigan, using secure credentialing management systems (SCMS) for connected vehicles, which they say is an industry first. SCMS provides digitally signed certificates and activation codes that validate vehicle safety messages.

For the test, Verizon and LG validated and secured cellular-vehicle-to-everything (CV2X) basic safety messages (BSMs) using a standards-compliant SCMS hosted on Verizon 5G multi-access edge computing (MEC) architecture. Verizon said the test validates its core capabilities in 5G network connectivity, and it also demonstrates how 5G MEC can improve public safety and connected vehicle security.

Watch this video:

Post: Blog2_Post
bottom of page