Driven to increase revenue, margins, market share and overall competitiveness, modern mobile carriers are offering a growing number of IP-based value added services and applications, focused on any-time, any-where and to any-device connectivity. To support these business objectives, new technologies and network infrastructures, such as LTE, Small Cells, IPv6 and the Cloud, are deployed. At the same time, the cyber threat facing mobile operators has evolved enormously, with cyber criminals wanting to capitalize on the same opportunities as the mobile operator. Squeezed between the two, operators have to find a way to secure their infrastructure without impacting their ability to respond to the opportunity in front of them.
The growing number of 3G/4G mobile devices and the data volume they generate, the all-IP nature of LTE and the always-connected user mentality opens the mobile network to a growing number of threats. Some of these threats will be against the network, the EPC and its applications and services. However, due to the increasing popularity of 3G/4G as an Internet access method for mobile devices including laptops, the scale and power of potential botnets will increase as well. Botnets that could be used for attacking external targets or the mobile network itself. The growing importance, usage and threat associated with the mobile network, demands an uncompromising security solution to protect the network and its interfaces to other networks and domains.
As 4G becomes widely available and 5G is on the horizon, the IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS) framework will play an ever bigger and more important role in enabling both basic (such as VoLTE and SMS) and advanced services. In the long term, new standards and technologies, such as the Rich Communication Services (RCS) initiative, will continue to mandate the use of IMS to provide the infrastructure for delivering multimedia services. Given its increasing strategic role in enabling value added services/applications and QoE, all representing the key revenue engines for the mobile operator, the IMS represents a growing target for malicious attacks. The complexity of the IMS and its growing importance for IP-based services require strong security at the interfaces with external networks to protect the IMS from threats and vulnerabilities propagated intentionally or by misconfiguration/misbehavior. Internally, attention must be given to the traffic and interconnection between the different IMS functions at the signaling, control and data plane levels.
With the stagnation of traditional revenue streams, operators are looking at new multimedia applications as a growing revenue source. As threats have evolved to now target the applications, protecting them must also evolve to address the changes brought by new types of applications, social behavior and technologies. The availability and integrity of these multimedia applications and service platforms must be guaranteed. Enforcing fine-grained security policies to identify and eliminate threats is a must in a dynamic environment where users and applications are increasingly virtual.
Fortinet’s security platform has been designed and built to specifically address the security requirements that span a Mobile Carrier’s infrastructure, services and applications:
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