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5G wireless network deployments at major world events such as the 2018 Winter Games in PyeongChang have shown the great potential of a 5G-driven world. The ultimate goal of deploying 5G is to replace all of the networks we currently use to stay connected to the internet, not just the mobile networks but also hardwired networks and Wi-Fi.

The potential for the commercial and defense sectors is immense, claims forbes.com. On the battlefield, a strong, reliable communications channel is essential to pulling off any high-stakes operation.

However, network security concerns remain an issue with the upcoming 5G and 6G wireless network standards, as security measures aren’t being adopted in new standards.  

A recent study — a formal analysis of 5G authentication conducted by scientists from ETH Zurich, the University of Lorraine/INRIA, and the University of Dundee — found that criminals will be able to intercept 5G communications and steal data because “critical security gaps are present,” in part because “security goals are underspecified” and there’s a “lack of precision” in the 3GPP standards, they say.

“Autonomous vehicles, Internet of Things devices, and industrial control systems” are about to benefit from 5G networks, says Dr. Saša Radomirovic, senior lecturer of computing in the School of Science and Engineering at the University of Dundee. 5G “has been promised to be faster and more secure than previous networks, but we’ve found that it isn’t as secure as hoped.”

In a second, unrelated report published this month by researchers at Brown University, Rice University, and University at Buffalo, scientists have discovered serious vulnerabilities in 5G’s successor: terahertz data communications networks.

Terahertz is the extremely high-frequency wavelength located between microwave and infra-red that will probably make up the currently only-on-paper 6G networks, which will launch in perhaps 10 years from now. Submillimeter, up to terahertz spectrum, is well above the frequencies that are being used for about-to-be-released 5G. That’s in millimeter spectrum. 6G should provide even more reliability and latency reduction than 5G — if it works.

According to networkworld.com, the minuscule frequencies of terahertz have led many to believe they are too tiny to intercept — that a Man-in-the-Middle receiver placed in the narrow, directional terahertz beam to eavesdrop would block the entire transmission and be detected immediately. Research now shows, however, that assumption is wrong. Undetected eavesdropping in the terahertz realm is, in fact, easier than most people had assumed.