With the largest ever subscriber base, the telecommunications sector enables digital communications globally. These communications involve a massive set of data in words, voice, audio, and video transmitted through phones or the internet through wired or wireless technology. The vast subscribers’ sensitive personal data information (SPDI) is becoming an easy target for the bad actors or black hat hackers. A single cyberattack could cause a massive loss of ‘digital trust’ among the customers, leading to an enormous loss of reputation. In the worst-case scenario, telecom companies might fail to realize they are amidst a cyberattack and losing significant amounts of sensitive data without realizing it for the longest time.
In this blog, let’s get familiarized with the importance of cybersecurity in the telecom industry, critical threats, relevant, timely solutions, a career path in cybersecurity, and many more valuable insights.
Significance of Cybersecurity in the Telcom Industry
Cybersecurity is relevant to telecommunications and is a significant aspect that needs a massive revamp for the ever-evolving Telco landscape. The Telco industry comprises telephone operators, cable companies (landlines), internet service providers like Jio, Airtel, Vi, and satellite companies.
With the introduction of smartphones and soaring internet usage in the past decade, the Telco industry has come a long way from just cables and landline phones. In the next one to two decades, there will be a more extensive transformation in the Telco sector with the increasing usage of 5G technology, internet of things (IoT), Industrial Internet of things (IIoT), connected devices, smart homes, smart driverless cars, smart streets, smart dumpsters, a revolution in the gaming industry (Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR), Mixed Reality (MR) technologies) in the Metaverse, Artificial Intelligence (AI)/ Machine Learning (ML), etc. Due to the ever-changing regulatory requirements, telecom companies find it hard to adapt to the latest needs and technologies.
Since the ever-evolving technologies are dynamic and volatile, today’s cybersecurity approach might be obsolete tomorrow. So, the companies need to design a cybersecurity framework that is robust, resilient, and flexible according to the changing technologies. The cybersecurity framework should be designed so that it can be both reactive and proactive at the same time for sudden fluctuations and future predictions. It calls for the cybersecurity professional with an up-to-date skill-set and can work in critical real-time company issues. With the availability of various cybersecurity online certifications, one can quickly upskill their career and get prepared for real-life scenarios.
With vast amounts of personal information available in one place, telecommunications are an easy target for hackers. Hackers can access credit card information, E-mail IDs, website information, recent locations of individuals, etc. Cyberattacks on Telecom companies could impact at national levels, leading to massive instability in the economy.
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Therefore, It is the peak time when cybersecurity plays a vital role in the Telco industry. Due to the most significant transformation for seamless and secured communications, it is much needed now.
Key Threats and Security Concerns in the Telco Sector
With the latest threats arising every day, the Telco sector is at its worst phase, a simple yet effective target for hackers. Most cyberattacks are happening due to the lack of employee awareness, ignorance, and other concerns. Let’s look into the significant threats and security concerns that lead to an increased focus on cybersecurity in the Telco sector.
- Insider threats: Due to the pandemic, work from home became the new normal, and employees already follow BYOD. Many employees are unaware of the dangers of connecting to free public WI-FIs, spreading malware throughout the networks, and causing a cyberattack.
- DDoS: Distributed denial of service attacks can cause a ripple effect and happen in a high percentage where even companies are weak to fight against it.
- SIP Hacking: Session Initiation Protocol used in voice-over-IP communications can be an easy target to tap into encrypted calls through command-injection technique over HTTP, thereby injecting a malicious web shell.
- IoT: With the high usage of connected devices, this has been a quite challenge, which leaves holes for sensitive information to leaking including security cameras, voice assistants, etc.
- Third-party risks and security misconfigurations: Maintaining the security of the company and the providers for the company, primarily third parties, and configuring the application’s enterprise architecture regularly will decrease most of the threats
- DNS Attacks: Domain Name Security attacks are still a central targeted point for hacking, and implementing adaptive countermeasures can prevent most of the DNS attacks
- Exposure of sensitive data: Reusing the same passwords across different accounts can result in expensive data breaches, and in worst cases scenarios, the sophisticatedly designed breaches may never get detected at all
With the correct usage of threat intelligence, Telco can easily detect cyberattacks & threats and can arrive at timely solutions.
Employees are a vital part of the organization, and organizations can mitigate a considerable number of threats at the employee level itself, where the company can familiarize its employees with the following simple guidelines:
- Use Virtual Private Networks (VPN) to prevent any malicious data from entering into the computer
- Don’t put the data at risk for free public unsecured WI-FI
- Implement the two-factor verification
- Never avoid backups and encryption
- Please never ignore updates
- Use different passwords for every single account
- Keep an eye on malicious links like don’t click if its HTTP with its missing ‘s’
- Organizations can introduce other significant measures at the employee capacity
Future of Cybersecurity and Telco Sector: The Bottom Line
It is evident that an incoming and ongoing massive transformation is coming the way of the Telco industry in the next two decades. The Telco industry is still evolving and enhancing technological and regulatory advancements, keeping aside future and the current possibility of cyberattacks.
There will be high demand for cybersecurity specialists. It is a secured and lucrative career path. With the right skill-set, one can land a decent job position. For the correct industry-related skills and skill-set, one should check out many advanced cyber security courses that can provide hands-on experience dealing with various real-life scenarios.