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NSA, CISA Issue Guidance on 5G Network Slicing Security

The NSA and CISA have published guidance on hardening 5G standalone network slices against potential threats.

The National Security Agency (NSA) and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) on Monday published guidance on hardening 5G standalone network slices against potential threats.

Titled ‘5G Network Slicing: Security Considerations for Design, Deployment, and Maintenance’, the new document is the second paper in a two-part series that provides considerations on the risks, benefits, security, design, deployment, maintenance, and operations of 5G standalone network slices.

In the first part of the series, published in December 2022, the US government agencies mentioned denial-of-service (DoS), man-in-the-middle (MitM), and configuration attacks as the main security risks associated with 5G network slicing, and provided mitigation recommendations.

The new document is meant to “foster communication amongst mobile network operators, hardware manufacturers, software developers, non-mobile network operators, systems integrators, and network slice customers in the hopes that it may facilitate increased resiliency and security hardening within network slicing”, the NSA and CISA note.

The new guidance provides an overview of 5G network slicing, enumerates the main components of a slice and potential threat vectors, and proceeds with details on what designing, operating, and maintaining such a network would involve.

Expected to become a key technology feature within 5G, 5G standalone network slicing requires understanding potential security threats to ensure the secure implementation and operation of such networks, the US agencies say.

“It is important to recognize industry-recognized best-practices of how 5G network slicing can be implemented, designed, deployed, operated, maintained, potentially hardened, and mitigated as they affect QoS and confidentiality, integrity, and availability,” the NSA and CISA point out.

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For that, the two agencies say, collaboration between manufacturers, software developers, system integrators, and customers is of high importance, and it leads to increased resiliency and security hardening.

Related: CISA, NSA Share Guidance on Securing CI/CD Environments

Related: NSA Shares Guidance on Maturing ICAM Capabilities for Zero Trust

Related: CISA Instructs Federal Agencies to Secure Internet-Exposed Devices

Written By

Ionut Arghire is an international correspondent for SecurityWeek.

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