The telecom industry is undergoing major transformations with 5G and IoT. This means new revenue opportunities and value streams. Besides, there is an increasing security risk and pressure that requires every telecommunications company to build a better defense mechanism. A successful cyberattack on a telecom operator can disrupt Internet service for millions of consumers, affect business operations and, worse, even shut down government operations. Therefore, communication networks need to be flexible, especially as the scope, diversity and complexity of existing cybersecurity threats is increasing exponentially. These include distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks, which are among the most common attacks that telecommunications companies must dodge on a daily basis.
Countless Harms to the Business Operations
The internet and telecom industry was among the industries that experienced the largest increase in DDoS attacks in 2020, up 210% compared to 2019. In the digital age, such a security breach could be catastrophic on many levels. It can negatively impact a company's reputation, damage trust, and result in massive loss of revenue. Telecom service providers are the lifeblood of modern consumers and businesses today, where the demand for 24/7 connectivity has become a necessity. Therefore, being affected by DDoS attacks can clearly disrupt the business line in the telecommunications industry.
These attacks consume large amounts of network throughput and bandwidth and increase costs for both ISPs and organizations. The ransomware DDoS (rDDoS) attack experienced by Telcom Norway is a good example. The cybercriminals who made the attack demanded 20 bitcoins (about 1 million dollars at that time) to stop the attacks and not continue.
In a traditional telecommunications environment, many physical devices or devices have application-specific integrated circuits (ASICs) that can be tailored to meet the exact requirement of the product using the circuit, such as a switch, router, or firewall. ASICs are very stable and built to handle peaks and spikes in network traffic, providing strong resistance to DDoS attacks. However, many telecommunications companies are now adopting network function virtualization (NFV), which moves network functionality away from physical devices and runs them in software on CPUs. This change leads to increased vulnerability such as the high traffic volume loads present in a DDoS attack.
DDoS attacks can affect telecommunications companies in several areas at once. These types of cyberattacks often affect telecommunications companies in ways such as reduced network capacity, poor performance, increased traffic exchange costs, and interrupted service availability. Also these architectures will broaden the attack surface and create new challenges for managing DDoS risk although 5G-enabled devices may offer greater computing power and speed.