5G and VPN networks under hacker attack: 2021 will be the year of the turning point

Hackers are raising the bar: now the attacks are increasingly sophisticated and in 2021 cyber criminals will exploit the power and vulnerabilities of the 5G network to attack also VPN networks

With the advent of the 5G connection and the increase of smart working, often carried out with connections to internal networks via VPN, there could be an increase in attempted cyber attacks. Raising the alarm are Kaspersky researchers, who pointed out that these changes have raised the interest of hacker criminals.

As every year, the "Kaspersky Threat Prediction" has been published for 2021; that is, all the predictions and analyses closely related to cybersecurity of the Russian company. On the Securelist site, researchers have analyzed some of the most likely threats for the coming year, reiterating how an increase in network activity inevitably puts the spotlight on possible vulnerabilities. "More and more aspects of our lives," the forecast reads, "are becoming dependent on technology and Internet connectivity. As a result, we present a much larger attack surface than ever before. It is likely, therefore, that we will see more disruptive attacks in the future."

5G and its vulnerabilities, according to Kaspersky

It has long been the focus of attention on 5G, not only because of the Huawei affair, but also because of the likely health implications of using this new and very fast connection technology. So much noise, however, has helped to raise the interest of the media as well as researchers, engaged in the identification of possible problems and vulnerabilities in the products of the Chinese giant.

This translates into greater attention, even unfortunately by that segment of the public that could exploit these vulnerabilities to their advantage, such as hackers and criminals. So, each flaw or backdoor could create a secure access to groups of malicious people, who could exploit them to spread dangerous malware, jeopardizing the security of the devices and the content stored on them.

VPN and vishing, Kaspersky's fears

With the Covid-19 pandemic underway, more and more companies have chosen to continue operations through smart working, allowing their employees to do work directly from home. To connect to the corporate network, private networks - VPNs - are provided, but they can be a double-edged sword.

Through vishing, or the theft of network access credentials via a phone call from a fake service or customer support representative, more and more people are falling victim to such attacks. By providing their data, victims often don't realize that they are jeopardizing the security of the network, leaving the door open to all kinds of criminal activity.

The same is true for exploiting VPN gateways. Without a proper security strategy in place, cyber criminals may have a clear path to exploit any vulnerability issues, disrupting corporate networks and leaving important confidential information available to anyone.