Verizon engineers work to secure the 5G network

Storing data "fingerprints" in the blockchain and an artificial intelligence security framework are two projects the carrier is focused on.

Corinne Reichert Senior Editor
Corinne Reichert (she/her) grew up in Sydney, Australia and moved to California in 2019. She holds degrees in law and communications, and currently writes news, analysis and features for CNET across the topics of electric vehicles, broadband networks, mobile devices, big tech, artificial intelligence, home technology and entertainment. In her spare time, she watches soccer games and F1 races, and goes to Disneyland as often as possible.
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Corinne Reichert
2 min read

Verizon is trialling 5G network security solutions.

Angela Lang/CNET

Verizon on Thursday detailed some of the work it's doing on its 5G network security. Verizon said its network security engineers are experimenting with artificial intelligence and machine learning cybersecurity, network accelerators, data "fingerprints," and connected vehicles security. It's part of an effort to protect its 5G network against possible threats in the future.

"In all aspects of our network, from the core of the network to the radio access edge, even to the customer device, we have built our network to be secure," said Srini Kalapala, VP of Network Planning for Verizon. "We will not compromise when it comes to the security of our network and our customers' data."

On AI and machine learning, Verizon wants to develop a security framework that would verify the information being fed into its algorithms and manage how the info is being used -- like to detect security anomalies and analyze how cell towers are performing.

Verizon's network accelerators will then help protect security functions that can't be virtualized in the cloud. Verizon's engineers are working with the University of California Santa Barbara to combine AI machine learning firewall and intrusion detection system solutions in a single whitebox accelerator.

Read more: Verizon vs. AT&T vs. T-Mobile compared: How to pick the best 5G carrier for you

Machine state integrity would speed up detection of a security breach. Verizon is partnered with Guardtime on making it almost real time by using "cryptographically secure functions to create digital fingerprints of data" and storing them in the blockchain.

"By comparing fingerprints stored in the blockchain to fingerprints taken during or after a cyber attack, companies can more quickly and easily determine if the integrity of their data was compromised," Verizon explained. This will better protect Verizon's cell towers and cloud servers.

Lastly, Verizon's 5G security system for connected vehicles, called Secure Credentialing Management System, secures the connections among vehicles, roadside infrastructure, other road users and cloud services. Working with LG , Verizon engineers successfully tested basic safety messages hosted on the Verizon 5G network.

Verizon has so far launched its 5G network in 35 cities across the US, although it's only available in certain parts of those cities. Verizon uses high-band millimeter-wave spectrum for its 5G network, which is high speed but limited to traveling short distances and being blocked by solid obstacles like buildings and trees.

You can check out Verizon's 5G coverage map here.

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