Security Threat for 5G Time Sensitive Network Synchronization

Wednesday | 2:10 - 2:30 pm

Synchronization is one of the key aspects of mobile technologies. Time, frequency, and phase synchronization are all critical for 5G time sensitive network (TSN). Loss of timing will have an immediate impact on RAN performance. Synchronization glitch in the 5G network impacts several time critical use cases such as autonomous vehicles, manufacturing, healthcare. Timing outages are destined to become significant performance and availability challenges.

Due to lack of built-in protection, 1588 PTP packets can be easily compromised by a person who has access to the network. This leads to a range of possible attacks. A simple test attack on PTP for just 37 seconds caused a slave clock off by a whopping 2,149.5 minutes. Slave was unable to recover from the 37 seconds attack even after one hour.

This paper analyses the possible security vulnerabilities of 1588 PTP time distribution in packet networks and possible mitigations. The attack scenarios include event messages attacks, BMC attacks, management layer attacks and possible mitigations include multi-pronged approach and best practices.