5G networks must be secured from hackers, bad actors, US senator says

Sen. Maria Cantwell says the US will need a comprehensive 5G cybersecurity plan if it wants to keep its competitive edge.

Abrar Al-Heeti Technology Reporter
Abrar Al-Heeti is a technology reporter for CNET, with an interest in phones, streaming, internet trends, entertainment, pop culture and digital accessibility. She's also worked for CNET's video, culture and news teams. She graduated with bachelor's and master's degrees in journalism from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Though Illinois is home, she now loves San Francisco -- steep inclines and all.
Expertise Abrar has spent her career at CNET analyzing tech trends while also writing news, reviews and commentaries across mobile, streaming and online culture. Credentials
  • Named a Tech Media Trailblazer by the Consumer Technology Association in 2019, a winner of SPJ NorCal's Excellence in Journalism Awards in 2022 and has three times been a finalist in the LA Press Club's National Arts & Entertainment Journalism Awards.
Abrar Al-Heeti
2 min read
NurPhoto/Getty Images

The US will need to implement a strategy to protect 5G technology from hackers and state-sponsored bad actors, US Sen. Maria Cantwell said at a 5G hearing Wednesday. Cantwell, of Washington state, is the top Democrat on the US Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation.

"I'm all in for 5G ... But in the push for 5G, we need to make sure we're not blind to some of the very important policy issues," Cantwell said at the hearing. "5G networks must be secure, and that starts with having a 5G strategy that focuses on shoring up our defense against hackers and state-sponsored actors." 

As part of the proposed strategy, Cantwell said, the Trump administration would need to provide Congress with a "real, quantifiable 5G security threat assessment." In addition, the US would have to ensure the equipment made and used to run 5G networks is secure, and must determine whether to ban "foreign bad actors" from the 5G supply chain. Cantwell also said the US will have to work with international partners to prevent state-sponsored espionage.

5G, the next generation of cellular technology, promises to boost internet speeds, coverage and responsiveness for wireless networks. It'll allow functions such as streaming HD videos on your mobile network and will accommodate more internet-of-things devices. Carriers like Verizon and AT&T have been racing to switch to 5G.   

"If we roll up our sleeves, get serious about the cyber issues, and continue to make the right investments in the innovation economy and the race to win in 5G, the United States will do very, very well," Cantwell said.