Security Challenges of Small Cell as a Service in Virtualized Mobile Edge Computing Environments


Research on next-generation 5G wireless networks is currently attracting a lot of attention in both academia and industry. While 5G development and standardization activities are still at their early stage, it is widely acknowledged that 5G systems are going to extensively rely on dense small cell deployments, which would exploit infrastructure and network functions virtualization (NFV), and push the network intelligence towards network edges by embracing the concept of mobile edge computing (MEC). As security will be a fundamental enabling factor of small cell as a service (SCaaS) in 5G networks, we present the most prominent threats and vulnerabilities against a broad range of targets. As far as the related work is concerned, to the best of our knowledge, this paper is the first to investigate security challenges at the intersection of SCaaS, NFV, and MEC. It is also the first paper that proposes a set of criteria to facilitate a clear and effective taxonomy of security challenges of main elements of 5G networks. Our analysis can serve as a staring point towards the development of appropriate 5G security solutions. These will have crucial effect on legal and regulatory frameworks as well as on decisions of businesses, governments, and end-users.

2016 Information Security Theory and Practice