Ericsson partnered with three Canadian universities for an R&D initiative focused on building cyber-resilient and secure networks through automation and AI for the detection and prevention of attacks on 5G and 6G networks.

The vendor is working with Concordia University, the University of Manitoba and the University of Waterloo as part of an initiative led by Canada’s National Cybersecurity Consortium (NCC).

Canada’s government selected the NCC to head its Cybersecurity Innovation Network in 2022. The programme will provide up to CAD80 million ($58.9 million) in funding over a four-year period to support security efforts in the nation.

Ericsson noted 5G networks currently provide “extremely high levels of resilience”, but stated “the adoption of new business contexts and use cases at scale will also place unprecedented new demands on the network, generating complex security and privacy requirements, as well as a growth in potentially unsecure devices”.

To combat emerging security threats, Ericsson and its partners plan to develop AI-based techniques which improve and automate the current security of 5G networks to better detect zero-day attacks.

The group will also explore the potential impact of using AI to predict upcoming, and detect ongoing attacks, along with “applying 5G orchestration capabilities to test and deploy new defence mechanisms at run time”.

Professor Mourad Debbabi, director of the security research centre at Concordia University, stated the collaboration with Ericsson would also enable it to “train top cybersecurity talent across Canada” and proactively improve the security of 5G networks.