Worrying Vulnerabilities Found In Key 6G Technology

Worrying vulnerabilities were reportedly found in key 6G technology. And according to reports, Metasurface-based attacks could allow hackers to easily and effectively intercept wireless interactions.

Vulnerabilities in Key 6G Technology

Vulnerabilities in Key 6G Technology

Hackers may just be able to successfully launch two novel types of attack simply by exploiting weaknesses in programmable metasurfaces. Metasurfaces as you should know is a technology that will become very key in the eventual rollout of 6G networks.

Programmable metasurfaces for those that don’t know are electromagnetic surfaces that are designed to integrate into everyday objects such as wallpaper or window glass and then aim to optimize communication channels.

This very type of technology could become substantial in maximizing the potential of 6G in the future. Speeds as you should know are expected to be orders of magnitude that are faster than even some of the best 5G home broadband as well as wireless networks.

Metasurfaces Can Also Be Exploited To Launch Attacks on Wireless Networks

But however, metasurfaces can also be exploited to launch attacks on wireless networks. This is according to researchers with Peking University, University of Sannio, and Southeast University. Their paper in question, which was published in Nature Electronics, demonstrates two separate kinds of attacks which in question are active and passive – with metasurfaces at the heart of both in question.

“The open nature of wireless communication means that data and signals are essentially out in the open, making the risk of physical level attacks a major concern,” researchers Lianlin Li, Vincenzo Galdi, and Tie Jun Cui revealed to Tech Xplore.

“Our project focuses on identifying some potential risks associated with programmable metasurfaces—a key enabling technology in the envisioned 6G landscape.”

How Metasurface Can Be Used To Spy on Wireless Interactions Effectively

In one key scenario, a user can passively make use of a metasurface to effectively spy on wireless interactions that are between two devices and then interfere with the signal. By quickly shifting the properties of a metasurface, they could effectively disrupt the communication that is between a router and its user too, thus grinding down data transfer speeds.

An active attack on the other hand, meanwhile, could see an attacker easily generate and then send fake data to a user all the while eavesdropping on a connection. Exploiting metasurfaces, in this very scenario, can get to ramp up the rate at which fake data is transmitted, all the while winding down the efficacy of the legitimate connection. This in question can all happen while the attacker remains hard to detect reportedly.

What the Researchers Aim to Get with Their Work

The researchers however hope that their work can inform the industry to incorporate protective cybersecurity measures into metasurfaces as they are developed over the coming years, ahead of a very much likely 2030 launch date for 6G.

“Continuing our research, we are dedicated to shaping secure 6G networks, taking into account both the benefits and challenges associated with programmable metasurfaces,” Li, Galdi, and Cui stated. “Currently, we are focused on developing targeted defenses against physical-layer attacks, by exploiting strategies such as beamforming, cooperative jamming with artificial noise, index modulation, and adaptive modulation.”



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