While 4G and LTE networks deliver unprecedented bandwith and performance, they lack the inherent security of previous-generation networks. Below, John Vestberg, CEO of Clavister shows how operators can secure their LTE networks, and protect subscribers’ data
Next generation 4G and LTE (fourth generation and long term evolution) mobile networks have rung changes for European businesses. These new superfast mobile broadband networks are allowing organisations to deploy more bandwidth-hungry applications that make business on the move entirely possible using a handheld device. Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) also benefit from being able to offer new, revenue-generating services.
But with the increased performance that next-generation networks bring, there has been a trade-off in security. Unlike previous-generation mobile networks – the 2G and 3G services that a majority of people and businesses still use – 4G and LTE architectures do not have built-in security to protect the network or subscribers’ voice calls, texts or data.
The majority of current 2G and 3G services provide inbuilt encryption of voice and data from the subscriber’s handset, right through to the core mobile network. But in LTE networks, while traffic may be encrypted from the mobile device to the cell site, the link from the cell site into the core of the mobile network is unencrypted, leaving the traffic (and the network itself) vulnerable to interception and attack.