Friday 20 September 2019

Artificial Intelligence will be key to winning fight against cyber criminals as the new age of 5G dawns

Edwin Doyle has warned of vulnerabilities in 5G mobile devices. Photo: Bloomberg
Edwin Doyle has warned of vulnerabilities in 5G mobile devices. Photo: Bloomberg

Ailish O'Hora

The introduction of 5G services in Ireland will bring opportunities for businesses and consumers, but will also bring challenges in terms of securing devices.

According to Edwin Doyle, global security strategist at Check Point, a multinational software provider, securing Internet of Things (IoT) devices enabled through 5G within an organisational environment has been challenging to date, partly due to the reliance on traditional security controls which provide only limited effectiveness.

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Vodafone Ireland was recently the first to market with this next-generation technology, offering commercial trials on a limited basis.

"The massive collection of data will also make mobile devices a much more attractive target for hackers, since we can now look at mobile as a hub for data collection of personal information," said Doyle. "Security strategies need to evolve in line with the underlying technology, necessitating a combination of both traditional and newer controls, in order to address the concerns posed by such devices."

Doyle added that it is up to companies to stay ahead of the game in the fight against cyber attacks and hackers.

"As a result of their inherently connected nature, such devices have been receiving much attention due to concerns around the limited security typically provided," he said.

"Looking at the healthcare industry specifically, glucose monitors, medication dispensers and insulin pumps are all examples of IoT devices in use, with reports of the latter recently being recalled due to vulnerabilities identified within the product. This is particularly concerning, as such incidents can directly affect patients' well-being."

He added that there are many incentives for cyber criminals, including financial ones, while these gangs are also highly sophisticated operators. They have CEOs and CFOs, and a good cyber crime crew can make $100,000 (€90,000) a week. They are used to making this kind of money, Doyle said, adding that the ongoing development of artificial intelligence (AI) is the way forward.

"Urban legend purports that humans only use 10pc of their brains. Artificial intelligence does not have this limitation, but is restricted by the human ability to learn. What if we could overcome this constraint by providing a human fuelled feedback loop to the AI?" Doyle asked.

"In cyber security, we're like the police, constantly chasing new malware, metaphorically speaking, across the information highways of the internet, through the defences of corporations and into classified locations storing sensitive data.

"Imagine that instead of pursuing malware, machines instantly learned from all the world's human threat analysts, gathering an infinite intelligence to prevent cyber crime, and instead of the police car pursuing the bank robbers, we started looking for banks to rob and stood waiting for the criminals."


Edwin Doyle is a keynote speaker at the Secure Computing Forum, Ireland's cyber security conference. A joint venture between Data Solutions and Independent News & Media, it takes place on September 12 at Dublin's RDS. For further information and tickets, go to

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