US government issues security warning on network slicing in 5G networks

US agencies have released a comprehensive document on 5G network slicing, offering recommendations to address security threats and best practices for secure deployment and operation, aiming to enhance 5G network slicing resiliency and security.

 Scoreboard, City, Urban

The US National Security Agency (NSA) and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) have jointly released a comprehensive document focusing on network slicing and its potential security threats in 5G technology. For the purposes of this paper, a network slice is defined as an end-to-end logical network that provides specific network capabilities and characteristics for a user.

Led by the Enduring Security Framework (ESF), a public-private working group, the guidance offers recommendations to address identified risks to 5G standalone network slicing. It also provides industry-recognised best practices for the design, deployment, operation, and maintenance of secure 5G network slices. The document aims to foster collaboration among various stakeholders, including 5G providers, integrators, network operators, and other relevant entities, to enhance the resiliency and security of 5G network slicing.

The document provides a comprehensive overview of network slicing in 5G networks, particularly focusing on those utilising open radio access network (RAN) specifications. It outlines the workings of network slicing and highlights the security considerations that need to be taken into account, including those related to user devices, core and transport networks, and networking software.