IoT vulnerabilities are “most pressing threat”, industry must prepare for 5G, warns Swisscom

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The security of Internet of Things devices is an urgent threat to the telecoms industry, Swisscom has claimed, as it also warned 5G would "open the door" to a multitude of threats.

In the operator's 2017 Security Report, it said vulnerabilities within the IoT amounts to the most pressing threat for telcos, businesses and consumers. This is more than the likes of ransomware or the compromising of mobile subscribers.

The operator warned attacks on online networks would bleed into the digital world. It said: "[IoT] devices with weak protection could be compromised and sabotaged. Such acts could limit the devices' integral functions, such as availability or data integrity."

Another risk is an increase in IoT-based direct denial of service attacks.

It said: "Strong growth in the number of IoT devices coupled with low-level protection produces more 'takeover candidates' for botnets."

The claims back up a report from ABI Research in January, which said there were no easy answers to solving the problems facing the industrial IoT.

Swisscom also drew attention to 5G and voice over IP as opening up the device ecosystem to new kinds of threats.

The report said: "The rollout of universal all-IP increases the risks associated with VoIP technology."

It added: "5G is still a recent technology and its launch will not only offer up a large number of opportunities, but also open the door to unknown threats."

[Read more: TIM technology chief says security is his biggest 5G fear]

The report, which focused on the potential problems facing society rather than what can be done to solve the risks, noted: "Our view of the situation reveals that the complexity of the threat landscape is growing. Attackers are profiting from the increasing value of protected assets, which also boosts their motivation to launch an intelligent, targeted attack.

"Furthermore, technical innovations and the convergence of the physical and virtual worlds are creating new opportunities for attack."