Good news regarding my favorite topic: 5G devices shall support full-rate integrity protection. As state in my previous blog post, the 3GPP SA plenary meeting took place last week and has decided that “The UE shall support integrity protection of user data at any data rate, up to and including, the highest data rate supported by the UE.” starting release-16 on [1]. This decision is a big step towards more secure 5G networks, as user plane integrity protection is the only valid countermeasure against the aLTEr and IMP4GT attack [1,2].

Still, user plane integrity protection remains optional to use [1]. As the phones must support full-rate integrity protection, the deployment of integrity protection will not run into any legacy problems. Which is great for the operators, but also take them under obligation to enable it. The statement of the GSMA plenary meeting let me hope that providers will enable it despite any performance impairments (“it was unanimously agreed, that support of full-rate UPIP should be mandatory and made available as soon as possible in devices and networks regardless of the potential performance drawbacks.”) [3]