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CTIA launched its 5G Security Test Bed (STB), a security testing and validation initiative dedicated to commercial 5G networks, in partnership with organizations across wireless, tech, and academia.

The 5G Security Test Bed's founding members — AT&T, Ericsson, T-Mobile, UScellular, MITRE, and the University of Maryland (UMD) — contribute their invaluable industry expertise in strengthening the STB's ability to enhance the wireless security ecosystem and ensure strong protections on 5G networks.

"This initiative will complement and bolster the FCC's 5G security efforts, validate its recommendations, and demonstrate 5G security features, with cross-industry groups working collaboratively to test use cases and products on an actual 5G network using real-world hardware and software," said CTIA SVP and CTO Tom Sawanobori.

The test bed's first configuration, built with Ericsson equipment, mirrors the initial setup for most 5G networks — a 5G radio access network is connected to a 4G core to create a 5G non-standalone (NSA) network. In 2022, the STB's configuration will shift to a 5G standalone (SA) network using a 5G core, which will enable testing of 5G SA use cases.

"We are pleased to play a major role in this next critical step in ensuring robust 5G security for all users. Critical Infrastructure, in particular, must have secure and resilient communication end to end, while maintaining the trust and integrity of its supply chain,” said Jason Boswell, VP and Head of End-to-End Security, Ericsson North America.

The STB is located at a secure lab facility at the University of Maryland, leveraging personnel with extensive experience in wireless security while the wireless core network is hosted in Northern Virginia by MITRE.

"5G is the most secure generation of wireless networks to date, and we are dedicated to enhancing those protections even further. We're thrilled that the 5G Security Test Bed will provide an environment to assess potential threats to 5G security raised by security researchers," noted Drew Morin, Director, Federal Cyber Security Technology and Engineering Programs, T-Mobile.

The 5G Security Test Bed's evaluations and recommendations cover issue areas that will help transform cities, government, and industries. “Ensuring the next generation of wireless networks is secure and reflective of democratic values will provide an invaluable foundation for further innovation," expressed Charles Clancy, Senior Vice President, General Manager, and Chief Futurist, MITRE Labs.

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