Light Reading

Ericsson Steps Up Network Security Push

Michelle Donegan
News Analysis
Michelle Donegan
2/23/2014
50%
50%

Ericsson plans to uncloak its mobile network security activities at Mobile World Congress 2014, marking the first time the vendor has sought to raise its profile in this increasingly critical area.

Largely silent on the issue up to now, the Swedish vendor plans to highlight its network security efforts in its existing product portfolio, standardization and research and development.

In an interview with Light Reading, Mats Nilsson, director of product security at group function technology, Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC), shared some insight into what the vendor has been doing and what it will highlight at the show. "For this MWC, we have increased our message in this area," said Nilsson.

Up to now, Ericsson has been relatively quiet about network security, unlike some of its main rivals, most notably Nokia Networks and Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU). (See NSN, Juniper Strengthen Mobile Ties, NSN, F-Secure Team on Mobile Security, LTE Brings More Malware, Euronews: BT CEO Calls for Clarity on Data Security and Euronews: Vodafone Makes a Stand on Privacy.)

The change in the Ericsson's willingness to promote this topic comes as mobile operators are increasingly more open about network security issues, particularly in the wake of the Edward Snowden revelations, and as its rivals turn up the heat.

The vendor's reticence on network security has already caused it to lose some marketing ground to competitors. "Ericsson has allowed competitors like NSN and Alcatel-Lucent to get ahead when it comes to communicating their strategy for mobile network security," said Patrick Donegan, senior analyst at Heavy Reading .

"Having been a follower in this regard, Ericsson needs to up its game now and communicate on security more aggressively, just as customers like BT Group plc (NYSE: BT; London: BTA), Vodafone Group plc (NYSE: VOD) and Deutsche Telekom AG (NYSE: DT) are doing," added the analyst, who is hosting a breakfast briefing, Creating Trust in the Mobile Network, in Barcelona on Wednesday Feb. 26 during Mobile World Congress. (See Digging Into Mobile Security.)

Stepping up at MWC
Ericsson's plans for network security messaging at MWC could mark a turning point. So, what is the giant Swedish mobile meatball planning?

In terms of technology development, the vendor will show a proof-of-concept called "radio firewall," which uses intelligence built into the base station to look for anomalies or malicious attacks in signalling in the over-the-air interface. As Nilsson explained, the radio firewall is a good example of how Ericsson can use its radio network experience to deliver network security capabilities.

"From our knowledge of how the radio network works, we're able to implement attack detection mechanisms all the way out in the base station to really protect the network," he said, adding that anomaly detection in over-the-air signalling is a completely new concept.

As for Ericsson's overall security portfolio, Nilsson pointed out that some of it derives from long-standing partnerships with specialist security vendors. Examples of such partnerships include relationships with Juniper Networks Inc. (NYSE: JNPR) and Symantec Corp. (Nasdaq: SYMC). Nilsson said that Ericsson has used IPSec gateways from Juniper and other vendors for several years and that it is building IPSec capabilities into a number of products.

Ericsson’s relationship with Symantec is for malware detection, explained Nilsson, much like NSN's recently announced partnership with F-Secure. "[The Symantec product] is very similar to the F-Secure product -- the difference is, we've had this for five or six years," he added (in the spirit of one-upmanship).

At MWC, the vendor also plans to highlight its security operations center, where it can monitor security behavior throughout the network, as well as its managed security offering. Security will also feature in its machine-to-machine (M2M) demo.

And to kick things off, the vendor has just published a white paper called Guiding Principles for Security in a Networked Society, which outlines Ericsson's visions for ensuring secure communications. It will also promote its efforts in standardizing security implementation in network elements through an initiative called Security Assurance Methodology (SECAM), which is outlined in this Ericsson Review paper.

Playing catchup?
But with all of this messaging on security, how will Ericsson's efforts compare to those of its mobile infrastructure rivals at the show? Alcatel-Lucent and Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. are not planning to make network security related announcements, but Alcatel-Lucent will feature its Kindsight security analytics as part of a Customer Experience Manager demo. NSN, meanwhile, will have a section of its stand dedicated to network security, where it will show the work it does with partners including Check Point Software Technologies Ltd. (Nasdaq: CHKP), F-Secure Corp. , Infoblox Inc. , Juniper and Optenet .

Ericsson clearly wants to convey that it is just as involved in the drive to better secure mobile networks as any other infrastructure supplier: MWC14 might be the place where it finally makes enough noise, and displays enough proof points, to be considered a member of the leading pack.

— Michelle Donegan, contributing editor, special to Light Reading

(3)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
SachinEE
50%
50%
SachinEE,
User Rank: Light Sabre
2/27/2014 | 5:07:24 AM
Re : Ericsson Steps Up Network Security Push
I think what happened was right, given that the mobile commerce with Erricson went down given its loose security reforms. Erricson needs to level up its amount, quality and duration of security. Although this may be easy to say, because if it was easy they would've done it already. They need better configurations in the network and this will require patient work.
mendyk
50%
50%
mendyk,
User Rank: Light Sabre
2/23/2014 | 1:18:44 PM
They say you know...
Mobile security is the hot topic at LR's breakfast (desayuno) on Wednesday at MWC. If you're a network operator and want to attend, there's still time to register. Just click here .
Ray@LR
50%
50%
Ray@LR,
User Rank: Blogger
2/23/2014 | 1:06:26 PM
Radio silence
So why the relative radio silence until now?

I don't buy any story about security being too sensitive to discuss...
Educational Resources
sponsor supplied content
Educational Resources Archive
Flash Poll
From The Founder
Last week I dropped in on "Hotlanta," Georgia to moderate Light Reading's inaugural DroneComm conference – a unique colloquium investigating the potential for drone communications to disrupt the world's telecom ecosystem. As you will see, it was a day of exploration and epiphany...
Between the CEOs
Affirmed Networks CEO: Digging Into NFV

5|28|15   |   40:26   |   (2) comments


Hassan Ahmed, CEO of Affirmed Networks, is making some big claims for his NFV startup. I sat down with him at the Light Reading HQ in New York City to get the skinny on what this Acton, Mass.-based startup is up to.
LRTV Documentaries
Cable Eyeing SDN for Headend, Home Uses

5|26|15   |   05:57   |   (1) comment


CableLabs is looking at virtualizing CMTS and CCAP devices in the headend, as well as in-home devices, says CableLabs' Karthik Sundaresan.
LRTV Documentaries
Verizon's Emmons: SDN Key to Cost-Effective Scaling

5|22|15   |   03:53   |   (0) comments


For Verizon and other network operators to ramp up available bandwidth cost effectively, they need to move to SDN and agree on how to do that.
LRTV Documentaries
Lack of Universal SDN a Challenge

5|21|15   |   04:51   |   (3) comments


Heavy Reading Analyst Sterling Perrin talks about how uncertainty about SDN standards and approaches may be slowing deployment.
LRTV Custom TV
Steve Vogelsang Interview: Carrier SDN

5|20|15   |   05:02   |   (0) comments


Sterling Perrin speaks to Steve Vogelsang, Alcatel-Lucent CTO for IP Routing & Transport business, about the new Carrier SDN-enabling Network Services Platform and the operator challenges it solves.
LRTV Custom TV
Carrier SDN: On-Demand Networks for an On-Demand World

5|20|15   |   20:52   |   (0) comments


Steve Vogelsang, Alcatel-Lucent CTO for IP Routing & Transport business, talks about requirements and benefits of Carrier SDN during the keynote address at the Light Reading Carrier SDN event May 2015.
LRTV Documentaries
The Security Challenge of SDN

5|19|15   |   02:52   |   (0) comments


CenturyLink VP James Feger discusses concerns that virtualization could create new vulnerabilities unless network operators build in safeguards.
LRTV Custom TV
NFV Elasticity – Highly Available VNF Scale-Out Architectures for the Mobile Edge

5|18|15   |   5:50   |   (0) comments


Peter Marek and Paul Stevens from Advantech Networks and Communications Group talk about their NFV Elasticity initiative and the company's latest platforms for deploying virtual network functions at the edge of the network. Packetarium XL and the new Versatile Server Module: 'designed to reach parts of the network that other servers cannot reach.'
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Bay Area Spark Meetup 2015

5|14|15   |   3:54   |   (0) comments


Developed in 2009, Apache Spark is a powerful open source processing engine built around speed, ease of use and sophisticated analytics. This spring, Huawei hosted a meetup for Spark developers and data scientists in Santa Clara, California. Light Reading spoke with organizers and attendees about Huawei's code contributions and long-term commitment to Spark.
LRTV Custom TV
The Transport SDN Buzz

5|12|15   |   06:01   |   (1) comment


Sterling Perrin, senior analyst at Heavy Reading, speaks with Peter Ashwood-Smith of Huawei and Guru Parulkar of ON.Lab about the evolution of transport SDN and the integration of technologies.
LRTV Custom TV
Next-Generation CCAP: Cisco cBR-8 Evolved CCAP

5|5|15   |   04:49   |   (0) comments


John Chapman, Cisco's CTO of Cable Access Business Unit and Cisco Fellow, explained the innovation design of Cisco's cBR-8, the industry's first Evolved CCAP, including DOCSIS 3.1 design from ground-up, distributed CCAP with Remote PHY and path to virtualization. Cisco's cBR-8 Evolved CCAP is the platform that will last through the transitions.
LRTV Custom TV
Meeting the Demands of Bandwidth & Service Group Growth

5|1|15   |   5:35   |   (0) comments


Jorge Salinger, Comcast's Vice President of Access Architecture, explains how DOCSIS 3.1 and multi-service CCAP can meet the demands of the bandwidth and service group growth.
Upcoming Live Events
June 8, 2015, Chicago, IL
June 9, 2015, Chicago, IL
June 9-10, 2015, Chicago, IL
June 10, 2015, Chicago, IL
September 29-30, 2015, The Westin Grand Müchen, Munich, Germany
October 6, 2015, The Westin Peachtree Plaza, Atlanta, GA
October 6, 2015, Westin Peachtree Plaza, Atlanta, GA
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
Procera has gathered facts, stats and customer experience feedback from a survey of 540 users from across the globe.
Hot Topics
10 Alternate Uses for Tablets
Eryn Leavens, Copy Desk Editor, 5/22/2015
Bidding War for TWC Looks Likelier
Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, 5/22/2015
Charter Seals Deals for TWC, Bright House
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 5/26/2015
Eurobites: Alcatel-Lucent Trials 400G in Czech Republic
Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, 5/26/2015
Potholes Lurk in Indian Smart City Project
Gagandeep Kaur, Contributing Editor, 5/22/2015
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
On May 29th 10 AM ET, Steve Saunders, founder and CEO of Light Reading, will be drilling into the "pains and gains" of NFV with Saar Gillai, SVP & GM for NFV at Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE: HPQ) (HP). He has defined a four-step NFV model describing a sequence of technology innovation. It's a must-read doc for any network architect looking to get to grips with their NFV migration strategy. Join us for the interview, and the chance to ask Saar your NFV questions directly!
Hassan Ahmed, CEO of Affirmed Networks, is making some big claims for his NFV startup. I sat down with him at the Light Reading HQ in New York City to get the skinny on what this Acton, Mass.-based startup is up to.
With 200 customers in 60 countries, Stockholm-based Net Insight has carved out a solid leadership position in one of the hottest vertical markets going in comms right now: helping service providers and broadcasters deliver video and other multimedia traffic over IP networks. How has Net Insight managed to achieve this success in the face of immense competition from the industry giants?
Cats with Phones