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Insights from the 2023 Billington Cybersecurity Summit: The Increased Threat Surface of 5G/6G & IOT

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Dr. Torsten Staab, the RTX Principal Technical Fellow, had the privilege to attend the 14th annual Cybersecurity Summit hosted by Billington Cybersecurity from September 5th to September 8th of 2023 in Washington, D.C. Along with other Raytheon executives, Dr. Staab participated in discussions with senior leadership from the U.S. government and its allied partners, as well as industry and academic partners, to address critical national security issues.

During the second day of the summit, Dr. Staab contributed to a panel discussion titled, “Breakout C4: The Enhanced Threat Surface of 5G/6G & IoT,” focusing on the implications of telecommunication capabilities on cybersecurity as genuine 5G networks and billions of internet-connected devices become a reality. His insights shed light on the potential threats and vulnerabilities associated with the widespread adoption of IoT devices and the rollout of advanced network capabilities.

Dr. Staab emphasized the exponential growth of internet-connected IoT devices, which is projected to reach 30 billion by 2030. As the number of commercial and industrial IoT devices and systems continues to rise, concerns about their vulnerabilities have surfaced. From insecure update mechanisms to weak or hardcoded passwords, these devices are susceptible to various threats. To address these concerns, Dr. Staab highlighted the need for comprehensive security measures, including Zero Trust by design, secure boot, firmware and application updates, continuous authentication, data encryption, and enhanced data privacy protection.

In response to the escalating cyber threats within the IoT domain, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and partnering companies announced the launch of a Cyber Trust Mark labeling program for interconnected IoT and home automation devices. This initiative aims to assist consumers in evaluating the security level of IoT products and motivate manufacturers to enhance the security of their offerings.

Dr. Staab also delved into the challenges posed by enhanced 5G/6G threats, particularly the implementation of network slicing, which divides a network into multiple logical and independent networks. He underscored the security considerations for the deployment of network slicing, as well as the adoption of algorithmic and AI/ML-driven decision making in next-generation networks.

Moreover, Dr. Staab emphasized the crucial role of collaboration among suppliers, manufacturers, service providers, and users to strengthen the cybersecurity of components, devices, networks, and services. He emphasized that cybersecurity is a collective effort that requires concerted action to mitigate evolving cyber threats.

Dr. Torsten Staab, an esteemed figure in software and systems engineering, brings extensive expertise in cybersecurity and is widely recognized as a subject matter expert in Zero Trust Security, data analytics, machine learning, and distributed systems. With a background in academia and industry, Dr. Staab has made significant contributions to the field of cybersecurity and continues to drive innovation in his role as the Chief Innovation Officer for Raytheon’s Cybersecurity, Intelligence, & Services business unit and Chief Technology Officer for Raytheon Blackbird Technologies, Inc.

His participation in the Billington Cybersecurity Summit 2023 and his valuable insights into the security challenges posed by IoT and advanced networking capabilities have further underscored the critical need for proactive measures to mitigate cyber threats and enhance the security of emerging technologies. With his expertise and dedication to advancing cybersecurity, Dr. Staab continues to play a pivotal role in shaping the future of cybersecurity.

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