Thanks for coming back for the second installment in our series of blog posts on securing the haul. If you missed our first post, Spider-Man, Uncle Ben & cellular networks, just click here to view it.
The focus of this post is on new technologies and the new threats that are being leveraged against them.
We first need to begin with a slight clarification. We’re not really talking about ‘new’ threats here. The threats themselves have actually been around for quite some time. But something is new, and that’s the fact that the probability of these threats occurring has increased dramatically over the last few years. The 3GPP (3rd Generation Partnership Project)
has already acknowledged this. It has identified the following as the ‘major’ threats:
• Masquerading – Gaining unauthorized access to a service and charging someone else for it
• Eavesdropping – Compromising the confidentiality of user data traffic or call-related information
• Subscription fraud – Exploiting services with heavy usage with no intention to pay for them
While these may sound like your run-of-the-mill Internet-based threats, they’re actually an order of magnitude more serious. Why? Because LTE
(long term evolution), with its IP-based architecture, is the next generation of wireless networking, and it makes cellular networks look and feel like the Internet (or an intranet). This will have great implications from a security perspective as mobile service increasingly becomes the ‘lifeline’ of personal and business communications.
provide functionality that approaches that of tablets and, in some cases, laptops. These phones run on operating systems and are capable of downloading applications, exposing them to familiar threats including viruses, malware, spam, bots and the like. According to mobile security company Lookout
, its installed base has seen a doubling of malware/spyware prevalence in less than six months – from 4 pieces of malware/spyware per 100 phones in December 2009 to 9 per 100 phones per year in May 2010. And it’s expected that smartphones will continue to be a very attractive target for hackers as more and more users adopt the phones and use them to download apps, store personal information and make mobile payments
– providing ample opportunity for malicious behavior.
But what can be done about it?
Find out in our next post on: Cellular security: is it ready for prime time?
We welcome you to share your thoughts – we’d love to hear your perspective.