Establishing a Strong Security Posture for Open RAN (2022)

By Scott Poretsky, Ericsson

The goal of this paper is to present the security risks and recommend security controls to establish a strong security posture for Open RAN deployments. Section 2 of the paper provides a baseline discussion of evolving Open RAN architectures, including O-RAN from the O-RAN Alliance. Section 3 introduces the Open RAN security posture, presenting the security tradeoffs of Open RAN and expanded attack surface of the O-RAN architecture. Section 4 discusses additional security considerations for a strong Open RAN security posture with focus on ZTA and cloud security to support deployment of 5G critical infrastructure for protection against external and internal threats. Section 5 provides a detailed technical analysis of the security risks across the O-RAN architecture and recommends security controls to mitigate those risks. Recommended security controls are provided with the goal to strive towards a ZTA that protects against internal and external threats, ensuring Open RAN deployments will be secure.

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