The advent of 5G , the new network communication standard, has caused quite a stir both in the world of mobile telephony and, in general, also in that of international politics. The new technology has the “power” to heavily influence the connectivity and economies of countries , therefore it will bring multiple benefits for both individuals and companies, playing a fundamental role in the post -Covid-19 global economic recovery . According to a report by Qualcomm-Ihs-Psb, which produces network technologies, a turnover of over 12 trillion dollars is expected by 2035 , equal to 4.6% of world production in 18 years.
This is why all the main international “powers” want to get their hands on it, to ensure control and therefore industrial exploitation, to obtain large revenues and greater political weight within the fragile world balance. Because the economic aspect is only one piece of a wider war. 5G is a flexible technology and can be adapted to different needs, therefore it will also be implemented in drones and automated vehicles, playing a decisive role in the use of hypersonic weapons , such as the Kh-47M2 Kinzhal mounted on Russian MiG-31BM fighters .
Intelligent aircraft and missiles armed with nuclear warheads , traveling at speeds exceeding Mach 5, require great speed to collect, process and transmit huge amounts of data to be guided on variable trajectories. This is why 5G is also tempting to the military : just last year, for example, the United States Department of Defense invested $ 600 million in this technology. The risk of losing the contest to ensure “technological supremacy” is so frightening to some countries that they are ready to do anything to win it, even to unleash real political-commercial feuds , including embargoes, boycotts, and security threats .
5G and the Chinese bugbear
The cyber war carried out or in any case endorsed by some states, including China, North Korea, Israel, Iran, the USA and Russia, already protagonists of successful attempts to infiltrate the networks of their respective adversaries, ended up by generate tensions and provoked a series of alarmist reactions for example in the United States, Iran and the European Union . As a reaction to attacks from China, for example, Americans and Europeans have decided to block (or limit) some Chinese companies from supplying microchips to local companies , or software and equipment.
Among these, the most famous is perhaps Huawei , which has also been prevented from participating in tenders for the construction of tools, processors and infrastructures useful for 5G services, opting for internal or more “trusted” solutions, such as Nokia. The European Commission has even taken care to strengthen the safety requirements in entrusting projects to certain companies, drafting a protocol that invites member countries to assess the risk profiles of suppliers, and to apply restrictions proportionate to those considered to be of high risk for safeguard the security of telecommunications networks.
Huawei has been explicitly accused by the US government, which has banned the fact, to be colluding with the Chinese government , and steal furtively on his own “sensitive and private information stored in its devices sold and operating in the world” . But that’s not all: the Shenzhen-based company, famous for its mobile phones, tablets and wearables, together with compatriot ZTE has also built 40% of the 5G infrastructures operating in the world. So by producing software and equipment, it could purposely make telecommunications networks vulnerable to the risk of a cyber attack, and have an additional sourcecontrol over sensitive data and information. Serious accusations, which led to a break in diplomatic relations between the US and China, and a sort of Cold War .
Internet of Things
Today the network is not only used for navigation, but its use is extended to the world of common objects , just think of how everything or almost everything is connected to the Internet. We are talking about cars , small and large smart appliances, mobile phones, control devices and local connectivity , smart sockets, cameras, sensors and other security and protection systems, up to home entertainment.
In a world of interconnected networks, devices and applications , it takes enormous power and speed in data transmission, which 5G guarantees thanks to a much larger bandwidth capacity than 4G / IMT-Advanced technology . This means that this standard is able to accommodate a higher number of connections, and especially as companies adopt automation, artificial intelligence and real-time analytics, data will have to flow freely between business units and partners.
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But the more devices are connected to the Internet , the more the risks of cyber attacks and the possibility that a device can become the access key for dangerous spyware and viruses can increase in proportion . Hacking sensitive information, especially from government offices, government agencies, military security and defense centers , just to name a few, could lead to dire consequences if it gets into the wrong hands.
To make many countries more cautious, especially in the European Union , there is also the intrinsic feeling of “alert” caused by the “structure” of 5G itself, which in order to function requires software distributed evenly throughout the web. But for this very reason , network management presents more vulnerabilities. In short, between trade wars and fears of espionage , geopolitical and military interests, the new mobile network standard seems destined for a while, in spite of itself, to divide the world rather than unite it.