Just how secure is 4G?
One of the main concerns of companies looking into cellular out-of-band management is whether the 4G LTE connections they will be using for remote site management are secure. This is certainly a valid concern, as the nature of these oversight tasks are sensitive and a breach in this arena could lead to catastrophic consequences. But, 4G LTE networks typically include a number of features that make them secure enough for OOB management tasks.
According to Sebastian Banescu and Simona Posea of Eindhoven University of Technology’s Computer Sciences department, 4G networks build upon the security features within 2G and 3G connections by primarily extending the range of what is asymmetrically encrypted and by more narrowly defining the transfer of signals to keep that information away from malicious actors. As a result, problems that have plagued legacy networks in the past, like crypto and side-channel attacks, are purposefully addressed within new network rollouts.
This is just the basic security foundation of 4G LTE as well, as many service providers had built upon this and added other key features. For example, Verizon’s infrastructure offers multiple encryption options, 128-bit root keys and user and device-based authentication schemes. Also, some of the added measures taken by AT&T include SIM-based authentication measures, session-based encryption keys and available VPN options.
Considering that these are limited examples of the added measures just these two companies take, in addition to all the steps that other service providers go through to guarantee security via 4G networks, LTE users can rest assured that their security and privacy is prioritized when using these networks. As these connections become more robust and advanced over time, the number and strength of available security features contained within 4G networks will only continue to rise going forward.
Use cases highlight real-life security benefits of 4G
“It’s completely changed my work out of the office,” Sarah Weller, managing director of mobile apps and consultancy company Mubaloo, said to EE about 4G. She added, “I feel safer using 4G. When you are dealing with confidential work, as I am, it’s something I take very seriously.”
That Weller uses 4G to do everything from work on client-facing presentations to access her business’s CRM platform is testament to how secure 4G is. Because of its built-in encryption and other added security features, it is often far more trustworthy than other network connections. The security features inherent in 4G networks today make it ideally suited for a variety of tasks, and cellular out-of-band management adoptees can rest easy knowing that their IT infrastructure oversight efforts are happening over secured and robust connections.