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How Will 5G Influence Healthcare Cybersecurity

5G has spent years lingering on the horizon, waiting only out of reach for healthcare providers and customers for its industry-revolutionizing potential. But now, the wait is (almost) over and it is already for others. In the latter half of 2019, Mobile 5G started to make limited appearances in major cities throughout the world. Those restrictions will not be in effect for long; this year, however, a more thorough rollout is expected to sweep across the country. 5G stands to have an extremely positive effect on the healthcare industry as a whole—its super-fast broadband speeds can make contact and accessibility instantaneous. All this said, 5G influence on Healthcare cybersecurity is going to change the healthcare networks entirely. Since next-gen wireless technology is planned with network slicing in mind, access to the larger infrastructure would be more difficult for bad actors. Slicing also allows for better protection, because data is not exchanged across discrete “slices,” and for better tailoring, because companies may enforce multiple policies across different internal networks.

5G’ really puts together a lot of applications that rely on loads of data moving in a virtual real-time environment very quickly. It’s not just about quicker mobile speeds. It’s about linking each other to computers and machines. But hooking up these devices to one another comes with its own set of concerns. Having devices connected within a hospital or, in the case of at-home monitoring, between the daily life of a patient and the hospital environment expands the possible “attack surface” that a hacker can target to gain access to the network of an organization. The number of devices that are (connected) is the number of access points that can be targeted in order to reach the network. Hospital leaders buy systems that provide password protection and data encryption to mitigate the risk of Internet-connected devices being used as “access points.” They can also track how devices link and segment their networks on an ongoing basis so that non-critical devices are not linked to core systems that contain patient information. With 5G, a vast amount of knowledge gathered by sensors and other Internet of Things devices that are expected to proliferate over the next few years can be obtained and processed by corporate security operations centers. For example, this would make it easier for businesses to detect suspicious activity, such as a hacker attempting to access parts of the network that are not normally accessed or trying to download an extremely large amount of data.

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