On the security front, 5G introduces several new facets; first, standardization and the underlying ecosystem are complex. This is true for all software but even more so for 5G, a distributed architecture by design. For example, the User Plane Function (UPF), a key network element in 5G core, can be flexibly deployed close to users for local traffic handling. Consequently, in contrast to preceding cellular networks, 5G blurs the lines between the access radio networks connecting devices with base stations and the core network that routes the traffic onto the Internet. Furthermore, 5G networks are virtualized from the onset. Much of their functionality runs on top of dynamically configured Commercial Off-the-Shelf (COTS) hardware. This increases the attack surface, as does the expected increase in both devices connected to the network and the data routed through it.
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