Privacy-first Security Enablers for 6G Networks


5G has come with a new rich set of features and capabilities, which, in addition to their obvious technical and business value, as expected, are accompanied with various side-effects. One such side-effect is the drastic increase in the attack surface compared to legacy cellular network infrastructures.

The emergence of 6G, which is currently being envisaged as a set of new technology enablers, is expected to widen this threat landscape further, by including aspects such as heterogeneous radio, RAN softwarisation, multi-vendor deployments, AI-driven network management. It is thus evident that the current vision for 6G calls for even stricter and more sophisticated security controls.

At the same time, Privacy is considered a key pillar in EU research and development activities towards 6G, as privacy enablement is considered a top societal aspect in the EU 6G vision. 6G is envisaged to comprise a decentralized, zero-trust, globally connected continuum of heterogeneous environments involving several actors across the service chain (core/edge/RAN infrastructure providers, service providers). In such a pluralistic environment, privacy is pivotal, not only for the end users but also for all involved stakeholders; and it needs to be considered as a critical requirement in all technologies of the network stack, including security mechanisms.

In other words, the challenge for security enablers in future networks is, on the one hand, to address the significantly widened 6G threat landscape, while, on the other hand, to preserve the privacy of all actors in the 6G chain. Intrusive security cannot be considered acceptable anymore.

In this context, the aim of PRIVATEER will be exactly to promote privacy as a primary requirement in the development of 6G security enablers, facilitating alignment with the privacy-oriented EU 6G vision and compliance with the GDPR and the upcoming ePrivacy regulation. To that end: The mission of PRIVATEER is to pave the way for 6G “privacy-first security” by studying, designing and developing innovative security enablers for 6G networks, following a privacy-by-design approach.

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