4G mobile calls still open to eavesdroppers
Armour Communications, a provider of specialist, secure communications platforms explains in a paper published today entitled, Is someone listening in on your confidential calls?, how the latest 4G network fails to solve the problem of electronic eavesdropping. Firms’ intellectual property (IP) and commercially sensitive information can still be listened into by perpetrators using an IMSI catcher, despite new security measures and stronger encryption used by the 4G network. This type of hack can be set up with equipment that is highly portable and costs less than £1000.
A rogue base station attracts mobiles by offering a stronger signal, and once connected forces the mobile back to 2G technology, where encryption is negligible and easily bypassed. This attack was demonstrated recently at the Ruxcon Security Conference, in Melbourne.
Andy Lilly, director and co-founder of Armour Communications commented; “Given the many years of experience and the huge investment in time to develop the specification for the 4G network, it has been assumed that it would be much better at protecting privacy. While it is to some degree, 4G does not solve the issue of potential IMSI catcher style attacks leaving commercial and public sector/government organisations vulnerable.”
4G enforces mutual authentication between handset and network base station, unlike 2G/GSM, but it still requires the mobile to transmit its International Mobile Subscriber Identity (IMSI) at least once in order to connect. Also, because 4G coverage is not ubiquitous, a fraudulent base station can trick handsets into downgrading to 2G, meaning any communication, voice, text or attachment can be compromised.
Andy Lilly added; “There is currently a proliferation of free apps and services that claim to be secure and encrypted, however, organisations should be careful about using such services. These services are not explicit about exactly what is encrypted and therefore there can be gaps that the user is unaware of. Furthermore, companies should not rely on services over which they have no control – for example the carrier service in some countries – in order to protect commercially sensitive information on which the success of their business depends.”
- Mixed feelings about Artificial Intelligence in eCommerce - January 31, 2018
- New algorithm uses Twitter to predict the stock market - January 26, 2018
- Study finds that Technology fails people every week - January 24, 2018
- Top Five Networking Trends for 2018 - January 19, 2018
- Support deal worth £100m agreed for Puma helicopters - January 12, 2018
- Top Five Cloud Services Predictions 2018 - January 10, 2018
- Nationwide search begins for young space entrepreneurs - January 5, 2018
- 12 Top Tips to Running a Faster Computer this Christmas - December 22, 2017
- Top 10 IT Security Predictions for 2018 - December 15, 2017
- Response to Future of Work report - December 13, 2017