5G will make devices more vulnerable to cyberattacks: Akamai CEO


5G is coming but how secure will it be? With the promise of information moving at super fast speeds connecting more people and more devices, companies on the front lines providing security are rapidly innovating to stay ahead.

In an interview with Yahoo Finance’s On The Move, Tom Leighton the co-founder and CEO of Akamai Technologies (AKAM), a cloud-based digital service company that provides cyber security services to businesses, said 5G will bring many benefits but also leave companies more vulnerable than ever to cyberattacks.

“I think 5G is really exciting for the world and the internet as a whole, and also for Akamai,” said Leighton. “I think at a high level you could compare it to what happened when we got broadband... it changed everything. And 5G has that potential.”

But since 5G will allow more people and devices to connect to the internet, he said. “there's concerns, as well, about security and about all these devices that are going to get connected now with a lot of bandwidth that aren't secure. And so you've got to worry about that.”

Akamai secures data by monitoring traffic closest to the user — also known as the “edge,” according to Leighton. The “edge” is “that last-mile connection that comes into your home or to the office or school.” he said, adding that it is “important because that's where all the bandwidth is on the internet.”

By having Akamai’s infrastructure at the “edge,” it means you’re applying the “first layer of defense in security” close to the user and you’re able to “absorb all the bot attacks,” said Leighton.

Cybersecurity has been a massive initiative for the company and a boost to Akamai’s bottom line. Akamai reported second quarter earnings Tuesday and revenue of over $705 million. Shares of the company closed Tuesday at its highest level in 19 years. Leighton said the company’s security business is booming right now — up 34% in constant currency.

“We've done a lot of innovation, really creative approaches to changing the way you think about security,” said Leighton. “The data breaches that are taking place are just really scary, and continuing. And you see the penalties being leveled against companies that can't keep data secure.”

Yvette Killian is a producer for Yahoo Finance’s On The Move.

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