It is called the 5G Cyber-security Lab, and is operated by cybersecurity start-up SecurityGen. It offers a 5G network environment, giving telcos the ability to simulate attacks and test security solutions before implementing them on their commercial networks.

“While there are plenty of simulation platforms for IT available, the 5G Cyber-security Lab stands out because it simulates telecom infrastructure, which is significantly different from IT network environments,” said SecurityGen co-founder and CTO Dmitry Kurbatov, in a statement on Tuesday. “The lab is the perfect set-up for telco security teams to test, understand, and better prepare and protect against the security threats associated with 5G, before, during or after the actual network rollout.”

The launch is timely, to say the least. Three quarters of telcos that participated in a Nokia survey published last month said they have experienced as many as six security breaches in the past year. A majority of them said they need to substantially improve their cybersecurity skills to defend against telecom specific attacks. There are also concerns that the rollout of 5G standalone (SA), with its cloud-native network architecture, leaves telcos vulnerable to a greater number of attack vectors.

In addition, Omdia – a sister company of – this week published its own survey of enterprise execs, in which a third said they had seen “major escalations” in security incidents across their IT estates over the past 12 months. Spurred on by pandemic-related changes to working practices, enterprises have accelerated their adoption of cloud-based and remote working, which, just like telco networks, makes them an easier target for hackers.

“With the 5G Cyber-security Lab, MNO security teams can gain an in-depth understanding of the ways in which 5G can be hacked. The new lab helps them define a list of security requirements and enables them to prove and test efficient ways to protect the network against potential threats,” explained Kurbatov.

SecurityGen launched earlier this year. In addition to Kurbatov, its co-founders include CEO Amit Nath; Europe and Middle East sales vice president Massimo Romagnoli; and global head of operations Paolo Emiliani. All four used to work together at a different cybersecurity firm, Positive Technologies. The thing is, Positive is based in Russia, it has seven offices throughout the country, and is listed on the Moscow stock exchange.

As sister publication Light Reading noted earlier this year, Positive Technologies was sanctioned by the US Treasury Department in 2021, which alleged it had close ties to the FSB – the successor agency to the KGB. This put Nath – who at the time headed the division of Positive that sold security products to telcos – in a difficult position. Together with his colleagues, he bought the unit, and re-established it in January as an independent entity, now known as SecurityGen. Given that Russian tanks rolled into Ukraine just a month later, with hindsight, the timing of their breakaway could not have been more prudent.

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