Is 5G More Vulnerable to Hackers Than 4G? Australia Thinks So

(Bloomberg) -- Though 5G promises to be so fast it could revolutionize the way we use everything from home appliances to cars, the technology may also open doors for hackers.

That’s what Australia’s government signaled on Thursday as it banned China’s Huawei Technologies Co. and ZTE Corp. from supplying next-generation wireless equipment to the country’s phone carriers.

According to a statement from Treasurer Scott Morrison and Communications Minister Mitch Fifield, wireless networks consist of a "core" and an "edge" -- the former being where sensitive functions such as authentication, voice and data routing occur, while the latter makes up the part where phones and laptops connect to the "core."

Problem is, under 5G, the divisions between the "core" and the "edge" can get blurred, according to the statement.

"This new architecture provides a way to circumvent traditional security controls by exploiting equipment in the edge of the network – exploitation which may affect overall network integrity and availability, as well as the confidentiality of customer data," according to the statement. "Government has found no combination of technical security controls that sufficiently mitigate the risks."

The Chinese equipment makers have also come under fire in the U.S., where regulators have proposed banning telecom companies from using federal subsidies to buy from companies like Huawei and ZTE that they say pose a national security risk. Huawei and ZTE have disputed they represent any such risk.

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