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December 23, 2014

Mobile network flaw could allow snooping on calls

German researchers demonstrated the flaw on a phone belonging to a German senator.

By CBR Staff Writer

German security researchers have found security flaws in mobile phone networks which could allow snooping on phone calls and text messages.

The flaw will allow hackers to listen to private phone calls and interrupt text messages on a massive scale, despite the advanced encryptions available.

The vulnerability is the result of widespread insecurity on SS7, which was first designed in 1980, and facilitates cellular carriers to route calls and messaging services to each other.

Experts believe that SS7 vulnerabilities could threaten the privacy of billions of cellular customers across the globe.

The researchers are expected to give details of the flaw at a hacker conference in Hamburg, but the attack has already been demonstrated to a German senator.

By misusing the vulnerability hackers will be able to record encrypted phone calls and texts to be decrypted later, and they will be able to use SS7 functions to defraud users and cellular carriers, reported The Washington Post.

The researchers have warned that even networks that has taken protective measures will not be immune to the attack, as hackers could get hold of African or Asian mobile phone network and target customer in the US or UK.

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German researcher Tobias Engel said: "It’s like you secure the front door of the house, but the back door is wide open."

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