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Post-Quantum Cryptography and 5G Security: Tutorial



T. Charles Clancy, Robert W. McGwier, Lidong Chen


The Fifth Generation (5G) mobile broadband standards make a fundamental shift in cryptography. Prior generations based their security and privacy principally on symmetric key cryptography. The Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) and its successors contain a shared key used to authenticate the User Equipment (UE) to the network, and vice versa. However 5G is shifting its core network over to a microservices, cloud-first architecture and is heavily leveraging protocols like TLS andOAuth2.0 to authenticate and authorize transactions. As a result, it is shifting to a PKI-based trust model. This shift is happening just as quantum computing threatens to unravel the security of traditional ciphers such as RSA and ECC. In this paper we highlight the need to advance the 3GPP 5G standards and NIST post-quantum cryptography standards in tandem, with the goal of launching a "quantum ready" 5G core network.
Proceedings Title
Proceedings of ACM WiSec
Conference Dates
May 15-17, 2019
Conference Location
Miami, FL, US
Conference Title


5G, cellular networks, post-quantum cryptography


Clancy, T. , McGwier, R. and Chen, L. (2019), Post-Quantum Cryptography and 5G Security: Tutorial, Proceedings of ACM WiSec, Miami, FL, US, [online],, (Accessed May 21, 2024)


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Created May 14, 2019, Updated October 12, 2021