The Fundamentals of Private 5G Network Security Testing

By :

The Fundamentals of Private 5G Network Security Testing

With use cases in diverse ecosystems, technologies, and environments, private 5G networks represent unique security challenges in the 5G equation. An accurate understanding of the vulnerabilities and threats within these environments through holistic testing must be understood and mitigated if a private 5G network's true potential is to be realized.

Private 5G networks are growing importance for vertical-specific enterprise use cases such as manufacturing, mining, transport logistics, and finance, which currently represent over 80 percent of the private networking market. Government agencies are also defining their needs for private 5G networks. These use cases represent diverse ecosystems, technologies, and environments.

Private 5G networks provide dedicated network resources for specific businesses or locations, offering benefits like enhanced control over data, improved security, and lower latency. However, they also present unique security challenges. The vulnerabilities and threats must be understood and mitigated if a private 5G network's true potential is to be realized.

Testing strategies should be tailored to the specifics of the private 5G network environment and the applications it supports. This involves following best practices of cybersecurity and the specific security recommendations for private 5G networks.

Major network equipment manufacturers, cloud providers, system integrators, and operators are increasingly intent on servicing the needs of the broad range of verticals with collaborative offerings aimed at making private 5G networks easy to order, deploy, manage, and scale.

In the process, security will be an unyielding expectation for all stakeholders in the private 5G network ecosystem. To assure their customers a private 5G network’s trustworthiness, rigorous and comprehensive testing in both the development and live environments is crucial.

Private 5G Networks use cases

Key use cases for Private 5G Network security assessment

Private 5G Network Security Testing Checklist

To assure a private 5G network’s fidelity, service providers must engage in rigorous and comprehensive testing in both the development and live environments is crucial. The essential elements of a Private 5G Network Security testing strategy should include:

  • Platform security and integrity

  • Virtualization and containerization

  • Applications and APIs

  • Network security and data exfiltration assessment

  • Testing robustness of the security perimeter

  • Black box testing targeted to the operational network via a UE or CPE device

Vulnerability management is a critical component of any cybersecurity program, especially within a 5G environment where potential vulnerabilities could have wide-ranging impacts. A high-level list of testing solution components for a 5G vulnerability management program should include:

  • Vulnerability scanning

  • Patch management testing

  • Configuration management testing

  • Penetration testing

  • Remediation verification

  • Incident response integration testing

  • Threat Intelligence integration testing

Targeting holistic success in Private 5G Network security testing

Spirent SecurityLabs recognizes that private 5G network solutions are architected in multiple ways, where individual implementations vary in a variety of bespoke environments which require a proven approach. This should include delivering testing solutions which incorporate an extensive focus on 5G and 5G MEC (mobile-access edge compute) security. With this far-reaching background, SecurityLabs has created an essential testing strategy to assess the security posture of the private 5G network solution before deployment, to identify and prioritize mitigation of vulnerabilities.

For 5G, the industry has few proof points of deploying a fully virtualized, private 5G network, with advanced and complex security requirements implications. Having the right testing strategy from the beginning can be the key to go-to-market success. To learn more, read our solution briefs SecurityLabs Private 5G Network Security Testing Solution and Advanced Validation for Private 5G Networks, and our white paper: Keeping Pace with the Requirements of 5G Security.




Sameer Dixit

VP, Security Consulting

Sameer is Vice President of Security Consulting at Spirent Communications, leading the Spirent SecurityLabs ethical hacking and security research team. Sameer is recognized a leader in cyber security, with 20 years’ of experience in penetration testing and security research. Sameer has contributed research for leading industry groups such as OWASP and CTIA, and regularly contributes on security-related topics to leading publications and outlets such as Security Week, Business Insider, ZDnet, SC Magazine and Security Boulevard. He has also spoken at cyber security conferences such as DefCon, CyberSecurity Chicago, BlockCon, MilCis, Arm Tech Con, SINET Innovation Summit and IoT Slam etc. on security trends related to the emerging web, mobile communications, IoT, Cloud, 5G and the automotive industry. Prior to Spirent, Sameer has worked for a number of leading security companies, including Trustwave-SpiderLabs and Cenzic Inc., where he led the incident response, penetration testing, vulnerability scanning and managed security testing services team.