Security for Azure Private 5G Core Preview

Azure Private 5G Core allows service providers and systems integrators to securely deploy and manage private mobile networks for an enterprise. It securely stores network configuration and SIM configuration used by devices connecting to the mobile network. This article lists details about the security capabilities provided by Azure Private 5G Core that help protect the mobile network.

Azure Private 5G Core consists of two main components that interact with each other:

  • The Azure Private 5G Core service, hosted in Azure - the management tools used to configure and monitor the deployment.
  • Packet core instances, hosted on Azure Stack Edge devices - the complete set of 5G network functions that provide connectivity to mobile devices at an edge location.

Secure platform

Azure Private 5G Core requires deployment of packet core instances onto a secure platform, Azure Stack Edge. For more information on Azure Stack Edge security, see Azure Stack Edge security and data protection.

Encryption at rest

The Azure Private 5G Core service stores all data securely at rest, including SIM credentials. It provides encryption of data at rest using platform-managed encryption keys, managed by Microsoft. Encryption at rest is used by default when creating a SIM group.

Azure Private 5G Core packet core instances are deployed on Azure Stack Edge devices, which handle protection of data.

Customer-managed key encryption at rest

In addition to the default Encryption at rest using Microsoft-Managed Keys (MMK), you can optionally use Customer Managed Keys (CMK) when creating a SIM group or when deploying a private mobile network to encrypt data with your own key.

If you elect to use a CMK, you will need to create a Key URI in your Azure Key Vault and a User-assigned identity with read, wrap, and unwrap access to the key.

Important

Once a SIM group is created, you cannot change the encryption type. However, if the SIM group uses CMK, you can update the key used for encryption.

Write-only SIM credentials

Azure Private 5G Core provides write-only access to SIM credentials. SIM credentials are the secrets that allow UEs (user equipment) access to the network.

As these credentials are highly sensitive, Azure Private 5G Core won't allow users of the service read access to the credentials, except as required by law. Sufficiently privileged users may overwrite the credentials, or revoke them.

Access to local monitoring tools

Access to the distributed tracing and packet core dashboards is secured by HTTPS. You can provide your own HTTPS certificate to attest access to your local diagnostics tools. Providing a certificate signed by a globally known and trusted certificate authority (CA) grants additional security to your deployment; we recommend this option over using a certificate signed by its own private key (self-signed).

If you decide to provide your own certificates for local monitoring access, you'll need to add the certificate to an Azure Key Vault and set up the appropriate access permissions. See Collect local monitoring values for additional information on configuring custom HTTPS certificates for local monitoring access.

You can configure how access to your local monitoring tools is attested while creating a site. For existing sites, you can modify the local access configuration by following Modify the local access configuration in a site.

We recommend that you replace certificates at least once per year, including removing the old certificates from your system. This is known as rotating certificates. You might need to rotate your certificates more frequently if they expire after less than one year, or if organizational policies require it.

For more information on how to generate a Key Vault certificate, see Certificate creation methods.

Next steps