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April 27, 2017

Protecting America’s Wireless Networks .

Protecting America’s Wireless Networks

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CTIA CEO Meredith Attwell Baker
Meredith Attwell Baker
President & CEO

The wireless industry is convening key stakeholders today to focus on our industry’s commitment to – and investment in – protecting America’s wireless networks from cyber threats.  Featuring key government officials and industry leaders, CTIA’s Cybersecurity Summit will address the innovative technologies and initiatives that are helping tackle cyber challenges today, the current cyber threat landscape, and what actions we must take together as we move toward the more connected 5G and IoT networks of tomorrow.

To coincide with the summit, we’re releasing a new CTIA paper, Protecting America’s Wireless Networks. Designed to provide an overview of how the entire wireless ecosystem works together to ensure that our consumers are safe and secure in their mobile-first lives, the paper helps frame today’s cybersecurity challenges and opportunities.

We hope to bring a renewed focus on the importance of a vibrant private/public partnership to keep our networks secure.  As the world becomes more connected than ever, and as wireless IoT grows, we will need to redouble our collaborative efforts. These threats are evolving, flowing from well-resourced foreign intelligence agencies, organized criminal networks, and motivated entities around the world. We see threats like malware, phishing emails, app-based attacks, cloud infrastructure hacks, and network attacks becoming increasingly complex, frequent, and harder to detect.

That’s why wireless cybersecurity is a top industry priority, and we are investing hundreds of millions of dollars every year in the people and technology to strengthen our networks. We’re tackling cybersecurity by deploying innovative tools to protect and monitor the network and generating enhanced security hardware and software for our mobile devices.

I’m proud of our industry’s efforts to ensure each generation of wireless is more advanced, and more secure.  From the 2G networks of twenty-five years ago to today’s 4G LTE networks, as wireless carriers and device makers have innovated, so have our security measures. And the next generation of 5G wireless and device technologies will continue improving the security and capabilities of our networks.

We also seek to highlight the need for all stakeholders to play an active role in safeguarding our nation.  We all have a part to play in keeping our wireless networks and information safe and secure.

Consumers play an important role in addressing cybersecurity challenges. Education and simple security practices – like regularly updating passwords and PINs, using anti-virus software, and updating OS patches and fixes when they’re available – can go a long way. CTIA has been proud to help raise awareness of cybersecurity best practices through our Cybersecurity Working Group, where we work to convene key cyber stakeholders and respond to emerging threats and trends.

These efforts have produced tangible results.  Our recent polling shows that nearly 80 percent of U.S. consumers enable security features on their smartphones and tablets. Today 3 out of 4 consumers run software updates every time they are available.

Similarly, policymakers have an important role.  First and foremost, policymakers need to ensure that the private sector has adequate room to innovate as fast as cyber threats do. We need collaborative, industry-led efforts that avoid static mandates that quickly become outdated.  We hope the government does more to facilitate the ability to share information about cyber threats and effective countermeasures among industry players and between industry and government in a safe harbor environment.

The stakes for getting cybersecurity right are high. The wireless networks of tomorrow stand to generate life-saving health care, transportation and other enhancements.  It will help drive $500 billion in new economic growth and 3 million new jobs. Strong cybersecurity is central to our ability to deliver 5G, and that’s why we are going to invest to help make sure our networks are protected—so that America can remain safe, secure, and a world leader in wireless.

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