The Germans discovered the vulnerability of mobile networks, allowing the mass to listen to conversations and intercept SMS




German researchers found shortcomings in the area of ​​security, which could allow attackers to listen to private telephone conversations and intercept SMS-messages potentially massive scale, even when cellular networks using the most advanced of the currently available cryptographic protection, reports The Washington Post.


“Vulnerability, which will be announced at a special conference in Hamburg, are new evidence of substantial insecurity SS7, global network that enables mobile operators worldwide to transfer calls, text messages and other services to each other. It is becoming clearer that SS7, first developed in the 1980s, a number of serious flaws that undermine the right to privacy billion mobile phone users around the world “- passes InoPressa word author Craig Timberg.

How to tell the experts vulnerabilities discovered by German scientists are functions built into the SS7 for other purposes, in particular to preserve the connection during a call when users move rapidly on motorways, by switching from one cell tower to another. Hackers can use this feature to track.

“Those who are well versed in the myriad of features built into SS7, can locate the user anywhere in the world, listen to calls upon their receipt or record hundreds of encrypted calls and text messages at the same time for further decoding – the newspaper said. – This means that any operator, for example, in the Congo or Kazakhstan can be used to break the cellular networks in the US, Europe and elsewhere was ”

Researchers Tobias Engel and Karsten Zero independently discovered these security problems, studying the SS7 network in recent months, after The Washington Post reported widespread sale of surveillance systems using the SS7 network to determine the location of users worldwide.

“In many of the major intelligence agencies are likely to have teams that are engaged only in the study of SS7 and vulnerability scan – says Christopher Sogoyan, Chief Technical Officer of the American Civil Liberties Union and an expert in surveillance technologies. – They certainly have studied these things behind the scenes and they were used. ”

How does this work

German researchers have found two different ways of listening to calls using the technology SS7. In the first case, the commands sent over SS7, can be used to “intercept” the call forwarding function. “Hackers can forward calls himself for listening and recording, and then the subscriber, which meant a call,” – says the journalist.

The second technique involves the use of radio hackers to intercept all calls and text messages as they pass through the radio waves in the area.

On Wednesday, Karsten Zero has demonstrated the ability to intercept and decrypt a text message using the phone a German senator, who participated in the experiment. Zero said that this process can be automated, which makes it possible to mass decryption calls and SMS, captured the city as a whole or a substantial part of the country with the help of multiple antennas.

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