GSM phones open to premium-rate hijacking

GSM phones open to premium-rate hijackingSecurity chap Karsten Nohl, of Berlin’s Security Research Labs, reckons the billions of mobile phones that use GSM technology are vulnerable to premium-rate hijacking.

Essentially, GSM peeps, which of course includes us in the UK, could find their phones forced to send premium-rate texts and make ultra-expensive calls. Eek.

Speaking ahead of a presentation in Berlin, Karsten told Reuters: "We can do it to hundreds of thousands of phones in a short time frame," though he omitted to say how. Phew.

Karsten adds: "Mobile network is by far the weakest part of the mobile ecosystem, even when compared to a lot attacked Android or iOS devices."

That statement is backed up by a survey across 32 GSM operators in 11 countries, namely Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Morocco, Slovakia, Switzerland and Thailand.

This isn’t the first bout of scaremongering from Security Research Labs. Almost exactly one year ago, Karsten and partner Sylvain Munaut told BBC News that mobile calls and texts on any GSM network were open to eavesdropping.

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5 comments

JanSt / MOD  Dec. 28, 2011 at 12:01

Ancient encryption for our holy new grails,,, c'mon?! Where's the surprise after whay anonymous pulled off in 2011! All our so-called security corps hacked, their websites defaced. Companies that define the secUrity policies for the US government, Fortune 500 companies etc etc... Heck. Police authorities, and, yep - antivirus sellers. It is all a big lie. You use man-made tech, there's bound to be a smarter "man" who will exploit it.

JanSt / MOD  Dec. 28, 2011 at 12:06

PS Ironically, the so-called conspiracy nutters, right-wing anti-FED, anti-NWO "rednecks" have been talking about all these scenarios for 10, 15 years.
Seems Max, in "Strange Days" was right - it's not about whether you're paranoid, it's whether you're paranoid enough. (G#d bless James Cameron for pilfering the quote chest correctly for once :p. )

shuwaz  Dec. 28, 2011 at 22:49

Security chap Karsten Nohl, of Berlin’s Security Research Labs presents... GLOBAL PHONE HACKING.

Bought to you by the people who made GLOBAL WARMING (and other such fictional classics).

Treab  Dec. 28, 2011 at 22:56

shuwaz ... are you thick or joking?

global warming isnt fictional. its proven. we have evidence ... let me guess your related or to an american who should remain nameless...

but rhymes with thrush.

JanSt / MOD  Dec. 29, 2011 at 07:31

Now, now, guys... Let's not get side-tracked.

ON TOPIC.

Shuwaz brings up a point, though, that is worth considering: what will be the "promised" solutions on offer? In that regard "Global Warming" and the protection of our privacy have things in common. Whether GW is real or not: many of the policies introduced in its name are dubious. Just like the policies to support the "war on terror"...
And when Antivirus companies are caught releasing viruses, well...

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