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Fiber Networks Hold a Cybersecurity Advantage Over Rival Co-Axial and Wireless Technologies, Say Panelists

Jericho Casper

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Photo of fiber optic cable installation by the Savannah River Site used with permission

May 28, 2020 — Not all internet infrastructures are created equal, and some are more susceptible to cybersecurity attacks than others. According to panelists on a Fiber for Breakfast webinar hosted Wednesday by the Fiber Broadband Association, fiber optic internet infrastructure is far less vulnerable to cyber-attacks than its competitors.

Fiber optic networks are less susceptible to hacking, said panelists, because of the technology they utilize. Fiber infrastructure utilizes all-dielectric self-supporting cables, a type of optical fiber cable strong enough to support itself between structures. This secures the endpoints in the network, which are common entry points that cyber attackers target.

While hacking optical fiber cables is not impossible, it requires sophisticated skills, super computers, time and patience.

Signals from 5G, satellite or fixed satellite infrastructure can easily be intercepted out of the air. The design of 5G networks, which utilize small cells connected to the cloud and a base network to send signals of information, has been criticized for enabling additional entry points for cyberattacks, the panelists said.

Additionally, 5G and other signal-based technologies lack the secure endpoints fiber infrastructure benefits from.

However, the utilization of a fiber network, while more secure than other internet infrastructures, does not completely protect the user.

“Privacy and security are part of our daily culture now,” concluded Doug Howland, senior director of systems products at Calix.

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