MWC24: How Ericsson Solutions are Securing 5G Networks

We speak with Keijo Mononen, Head of Security Solutions at Ericsson, to discuss the company’s solutions and the need for a zero trust approach

Founded in 1876, Ericsson has an extensive history in shaping how the world communicates. Today more than 40% of the world's mobile traffic passes through networks delivered by Ericsson, and the company manages networks that together serve over one billion subscribers.

At Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, we sat down with Keijo Mononen, Head of Security Solutions at Ericsson, to discuss a number of topics ranging from the company’s solutions to advances in AI and the need for a zero trust approach.

A cybersecurity professional with 20 years of security experience in the field of telecom networks, Mononen begins by highlighting the breadth of Ericsson’s capabilities in the field of network security.

“We are building a solution on top of Ericsson's secure products and also multi-vendor third party products,” he explains. “Our aim is to secure the network end-to-end, meaning from core to radio, but also vertically in the full stack from operating system, cloud, cloud infrastructure and also telecom applications, and also utilising zero trust architecture principles for the mobile network.”

Zero trust is crucial to enabling AI innovations

Mononen highlights the role of emerging technologies like AI in reshaping network security. While AI holds promise in augmenting security capabilities, including acting as an assistant to cybersecurity experts, he stresses the importance of laying a robust foundational security framework.

“First of all, I believe AI is part of an evolution. AI will contribute in the future and we are seeing that contribution starting already today. What generative AI will bring is an evolution of security toward the future, where you can actually detect new things with AI.

“I would say, however, that it is very important to do the basics first. That's where you need to have the protection in place.”

Zero trust has emerged as a game-changer for telecom operators, offering a holistic approach to network security. Mononen highlights its significance in the context of 5G networks, citing the guidelines laid out by the Alliance for Telecommunications Industry Solutions (ATIS).

From micro perimeter protection to continuous monitoring and threat detection tailored for 5G networks, zero trust architecture equips communications service providers (CSPs) to navigate regulatory challenges and bolster their security posture.

“You have to assume that you are compromised in your network, meaning that you are actually protecting your network with micro perimeters across all assets. You need also make sure that you have mutual session-based authentication in place."

“You also need to make sure that you're continuously monitoring your network on your security posture, making sure that all configurations are there in the mobile application, but also in the infrastructure. You monitor and collect the data from the network and you do threat detection based on that, which is purpose built for 5G networks or mobile networks in general, and this also include very unique solutions like detection of false base stations. 

“All of this sums up and builds this zero trust for 5G, which is a holistic way of managing security in a CSP’s network so they can fulfil their regulatory requirements and also sleep well at night.”

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