There was a time when a computer was a wholly-owned system built by a single company that also wrote and maintained its software; if it was networked it used that company’s proprietary protocols. Then came PCs, and third-party software, and the famously insecure Internet. 5G, however, goes deeper: a network in which we trust nothing and no one, not just software but chips, wires, supply chains, and antennas, which Thomas explains “will have to contain a lot of computer components and software to process the signals and interact with other parts of the network”. It’s impossible to control every piece of all that; trying would send us into frequent panics over this or that component or supplier (see for example Super Micro). The discussion Thomas would like us to have is, “How secure do we need the networks to be, and how do we intend to meet those needs, irrespective of who the suppliers are?”
In other words, the essential question is: how do you build trusted communications on an untrusted network? The Internet’s last 25 years have taught us a key piece of the solution: encrypt, encrypt, encrypt.
Ons digitale leven wordt stapje-voor-stapje verder versleuteld. Berichten die we uitwisselen via Whatsapp zijn dat al (behalve in de back-up naar je iCloud-account), al zeker 80% van ons bezoek aan websites en langzamerhand ook de bijbehorende DNS-requests. Onze smartphones zijn standaard versleuteld, en moderne besturingssystemen bieden de optie ook. Nu onze e-mails nog. :)