BSI: Higher security criteria set for 5G in Germany

The Federal Office for Information Security (BSI) has compiled additional security criteria for 5G networks in a catalog. “For this purpose, as the federal cyber security authority, we have created the new security catalog together with the Federal Network Agency and the Federal Data Protection Officer”, said Arne Schönbohm, President of the BSI, on August 11, 2020. This will ensure that powerful and secure 5G networks can be set up and operated.

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  1. Valtech Mobility GmbH, Munich
  2. AKDB institute for municipal data processing in Bavaria, Munich, Regensburg

The catalog of safety requirements is the basis for the safety concept and for the technical precautions to be taken. According to this, critical components must be certified, declarations of trust obtained from manufacturers and system suppliers, and product integrity ensured,
Safety monitoring introduced, sufficient redundancies created and monocultures avoided. Only trained specialists may be employed in safety-relevant areas.

5G security catalog goes to the European Commission

In the next step, the catalog will be submitted to the European Commission for notification. Further changes are possible. Critical functions for telecommunications networks and services are intended “have a particularly high level of protection”, said Wilhelm Eschweiler, Vice President of the Federal Network Agency.

At the same time, a consultation started on August 11 to determine the new list of critical functions with an increased risk potential (version 2.0). Currently, subscriber management and cryptographic mechanisms, insofar as they are part of the network, cross-network interfaces, network services, network functions virtualization management and network orchestration, as well as virtualization, management and other support systems, transport and information flow control as well as lawful interception, i.e. state interception, are viewed as critical Wiretapping and surveillance.

A ban on Huawei as a 5G supplier in Germany is practically off the table. This emerges from information about which the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung reports with reference to government circles. According to the information, the technology for the approval of 5G equipment will be checked in the first step by the Federal Office for Information Security (BSI). According to the report, only if the Federal Chancellery, the Federal Foreign Office, the Ministry of the Interior and the Ministry of Economic Affairs mutually raise concerns about a provider in the second stage could they refuse a manufacturer’s approval despite a safety check by the BSI. This is practically impossible in the current constellation, but it could happen if there was actually evidence against Huawei.

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