5G Networks are Here to Stay – Scale Up and Stay Secure!

5G Mobile Edge Computing (MEC) Networks are Becoming Larger and Faster

In 2022, the global market for multi-access edge computing reached a value of USD 2.52 billion. It is projected to experience robust growth at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 49.1% from 2023 to 2030. This market is poised for significant expansion in the years ahead due to the increasing demand for digital transformation across various industries. This transformation is built upon the pillars of digitization, network-based connectivity, and industrial intelligence.


MEC, which stands for multi-access edge computing, is an architectural approach that decentralizes computation and storage capabilities, bringing them closer to end-users and their devices. These devices encompass a wide range, including smartphones, IoT devices, and autonomous vehicles.

5G mobile networks are a significant leap forward in terms of speed, capacity, and capabilities compared to their predecessor, 4G (LTE). It stretches the network capabilities to a whole new level, by having:

Faster Speed and Bandwidth:
5G networks offer significantly higher data transfer speeds, with a peak download speed that can reach multiple gigabits per second (Gbps), and upload speeds of several hundred megabits per second (Mbps). Making it ideal for high-definition video streaming, real-time online gaming, augmented-reality (AR) applications and other data-intensive applications.

Low Latency:
One of the key features of 5G is its ultra-low latency, often as low as 1 millisecond. Having a low latency is crucial for applications that require real-time responsiveness, such as autonomous vehicles, online streaming, augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), and IoT devices.

High Capacity:
5G networks are designed to handle a significantly higher number of connected devices simultaneously. This is essential to support the fast-growing number of IoT devices and the increasing demand for wireless connectivity in various industries.

The Raising Threat on 5G Networks:
The advent of 5G technology has brought with it remarkable opportunities for innovation, especially in the realm of Mobile Edge Computing (MEC). MEC leverages the low latency and high bandwidth capabilities of 5G networks to provide real-time, compute-intensive applications and services closer to the end-users. However, the very features that make 5G MEC so promising also to make it an attractive target for cyberattacks, particularly Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks.

Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) threats on 5G networks pose a significant and evolving challenge to the security and stability of these advanced telecommunications infrastructures. Here are some key aspects to consider regarding the DDoS threat on 5G networks:

Increased Vulnerabilities: 5G networks introduce new vulnerabilities due to their complex and distributed nature. With more connected devices, higher data speeds, and lower latency, there are more entry points for attackers to exploit.

Massive Bandwidth: 5G networks offer massive bandwidth capabilities, which can attract attackers looking to flood the network with an overwhelming volume of traffic, making it difficult for legitimate users to access services.

IoT Devices: The proliferation of Internet of Things (IoT) devices on 5G networks increases the attack surface. These devices often have limited security features and can be compromised to participate in DDoS attacks.

Edge Computing: Edge computing is a fundamental component of 5G networks, bringing computing resources closer to end-users. While this improves latency and efficiency, it can also make it easier for attackers to target specific edge locations.

Botnets: Attackers can assemble large botnets of compromised devices to launch DDoS attacks on 5G networks. These botnets can include IoT devices, routers, and even compromised 5G-connected devices.

5G’s Low Latency: While 5G networks are designed for low latency, they can also be more susceptible to DDoS attacks that aim to exploit this characteristic. Attackers can target critical applications that rely on low latency, disrupting services more effectively.

Mitigation Challenges: Traditional DDoS mitigation techniques may not be as effective on 5G networks due to the high data rates and low latency requirements. Network operators must implement advanced DDoS protection mechanisms specifically tailored for 5G.

AI and Machine Learning: Attackers are increasingly using AI and machine learning techniques to launch more sophisticated DDoS attacks. Similarly, network operators are leveraging these technologies for real-time threat detection and mitigation.

To counter these threats, network operators and cybersecurity experts need to implement robust security measures, including intrusion detection systems, traffic filtering, rate limiting, and behavioral detection and mitigation mechanisms.

The good news is that there are ways to secure the MEC networks from these fast-growing DDoS threats.

A Scalable Protection Strategy for 5G MEC DDoS Protection

As mobile activity significantly and constantly grows in peace time and more dramatically on attack time, a robust and scalable solution is a great approach to perform different mitigation actions and handle the actions to be taken, such as:

Having the ability to identify a growing load and scale with enhanced mitigation capabilities and DDoS mitigation engines accordingly is critical to a successful DDoS attack blocking, especially incremented and evolving attack vectors.

DDoS Mitigation:
Having a dedicated detection and mitigation instances to handle DDoS attack at the edge network is crucial to the MEC site protection and the safety of the mobile infrastructure using behavioral mechanisms for a hands-free, fast, and accurate mitigation.

Load Balancing:
Load balancing to evenly distribute traffic among the different components that secures the MEC node. This helps prevent a single point of failure and to ease the overwhelming effect of the DDoS attack.

Smart ACL:
Filter out malicious traffic with ACL (access control lists) rules to reduce some of the malicious traffic and disruptive traffic.

By having the above components orchestrated and managed together, the service provider assures the MEC network availability of its services to all end users.

Virtual DDoS Mitigation Solution for High Scale – A Must for Securing 5G Networks

Radware, as a leader in the DDoS industry offers such a full end-to-end solution to identify and mitigate highly distributed DDoS attacks at high scale right on the 5G MEC edge to prevent downtime of the mobile network services and the edge users.

The solution includes:


When such a virtual DDoS mitigation solution is deployed, a mobile service provider can benefit from a robust system, which can scale up and down accordingly to the traffic load, to evenly handle the attack traffic for a successful mitigation.

Using the behavioral mechanism as a native DDoS mitigation approach becomes beneficial and a key differentiation also in such a deployment solution as 5G networks and mobile cores.



Being able to secure a service provider customer which is served by MEC is more important now than ever. Having the end users being served on the edge of the network makes them much more exposed to DDoS attacks, exploits and other malicious activities.

Securing the edge network is crucial for ongoing, non-disruptive service. This can be achieved with a robust, scalable DDoS solution. One that is constantly updated with the latest threats protections, providing high-performance and scale elasticity.

To learn more on how to safely secure MECs from all DDoS attacks by a leading industry DDoS vendor, click here.

Itay Raviv

Itay Raviv is a product manager in Radware’s network security group. With a passion for staying ahead of the ever-evolving threat landscape, he has dedicated his career to developing and launching innovative security solutions that protect organizations of all sizes from cyber-attacks. Itay has been successful at delivering products that meet the needs of customers across all industries. He holds a B.Sc. degree in Computer Science. Prior to joining Radware, he managed IBM high-end storage systems for performance and interoperability. In his current role as Security Product Manager at Radware, he works closely with cross-functional teams to bring cutting-edge security products to market, keeping customers safe from DDoS attacks.

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