IS-Wireless, The National Institute of Telecommunications and Warsaw University of Technology join their efforts for 5G network cybersecurity

Warsaw University of Technology, The National Institute of Telecommunications – the State Research Institute, and IS-Wireless, a Polish company specializing in providing 5G network solutions have signed an agreement to cooperate in the field of cybersecurity of the 5th generation network. Together they will develop a standard for increased security of telecommunication networks based on an ecosystem of providers.

Signatories of the project state that while building modern networks, closed models, dominated by a single vendor providing complete network infrastructure, are becoming obsolete and open models – known as Open RAN – are taking over. The new solution is based on multiple parties providing specific, compatible elements of the 5G telecom networks. Open interfaces and the freedom to use dedicated modules grants the ability to achieve much higher cybersecurity than in case of using closed systems. Another important fact is that open-model networks allow the client not to be dependent on a single vendor, which could be vital for national security.

Open RAN is a global trend, which has gained a lot of attention all over Europe. It is also the future of developing telecom networks in Poland because open models are much more flexible and cost-efficient than the traditional approach. However, there is no doubt that in networks based on multiple providers, a common, unified standard of security is required, and we can only develop it by cooperating amongst all of the companies participating in building telecommunication networks – says Slawomir Pietrzyk, CEO of IS-Wireless. In his opinion, such a standard will assure those ordering constructions of Open RAN telecom networks that they are properly secured. – This will allow to boost this market as well – believes Slawomir Pietrzyk.

Continuous work on the common standard until mid-2024

This is the goal of the cooperation established between IS-Wireless, Warsaw University of Technology, the National Institute of Telecommunications – the State Research Institute. It aims to develop specifications, implement them, and evaluate the base security framework for 5G networks based on multiple providers across the layers of hardware infrastructure, virtualization platform, and software. In the scope of the framework, a method for evaluating the security of 5G networks based on multiple providers will also be developed. The designed model will be compliant with the 5G certification scheme currently developed in Europe.

Warsaw University of Technology works hard on bringing up the new generation of engineers skilled in the field of cybersecurity. It is clearly displayed by starting a brand-new degree course of „Cybersecurity” available at the Faculty of Electronics and Information Technology – says professor Mariusz Malinowski, Vice-Rector for Research – In the research aspect, we are beginning a series of novel projects, well-fitted in the international research topics. This applies to the case of our project focusing on the issue of network hardware manufacturers’ trust while developing new models of cooperation between interested parties. The models will be fully compliant with European certification schemes– he adds.

Elzbieta Andrukiewicz, PhD, Head of the Cybersecurity Laboratory at the National Institute of Telecommunications – the State Research Institute, reminds that building frameworks for evaluating cybersecurity of solutions used in 5G networks as an activity aligned with EU’s strategy for cybersecurity is currently an object of ongoing works at the European level. – In that context, the laboratory of security assessment established at the Institute of Telecommunications, plays a crucial role for assessing network products. It connects the competence in the field of networks available in the Institute with technical expertise required while assessing security, which has been confirmed with an accreditation certificate granted by the Polish Centre for Accreditation to our laboratory. This project means a lot to us because it allows us to expand our accreditation to compliance with ISO/IEC 17025 regarding the assessment of network products’ security. Moreover, as far as researching and testing cybersecurity of such products is concerned, the project is one of the first in Europe – says Elzbieta Andrukiewicz, PhD. In her opinion, by reaching a proper level of technical competence, the National Institute of Telecommunications will be able to assess the security of 5G products developed by any provider, including the smaller manufacturers building their products in Poland.

Kosla: Implementing the 5G Toolbox is the goal

During the “5G Made Together” conference hosted by IS-Wireless back in May, Robert Kosla, Director of the Department of Cybersecurity at the Prime Minister’s Chancellery addressed the issue of a common security standard. – The work on cybersecurity of the 5G network is still in progress and it concerns both the legal aspects and the technological resources connected to certification and standardisation. That is why the goal is to implement the EU’s 5G Toolbox – he said.