4g hack

Joakim Aronius joakim at aronius.se
Thu Aug 11 08:02:03 UTC 2011

* Christopher Morrow (morrowc.lists at gmail.com) wrote:
> On Thu, Aug 11, 2011 at 2:32 AM, Charles N Wyble
> <charles at knownelement.com> wrote:
> > http://seclists.org/fulldisclosure/2011/Aug/76
> >
> > Wondering what folks think about this? If this was true then we just
> > entered a whole new era of mass WAN exploitation.
> >
> This isn't really all that new is it? haven't people been able to buy
> 3g/pcs/etc antennae and such off ebay for a while and intercept
> conversations/data/etc for a long time? GSM was 'hacked' (decrypted
> via some rainbow tables) several years ago as well.
> If you ship it over the air and there isn't a reasonable encryption
> scheme in place, don't you expect it to be seen?

GSM and GPRS are vulnerable to MitM due to lack of two factor authentication etc. WCDMA (3G) and LTE (4G) should be safe as they have much better security. Not sure about 3GPP2 (CDMA) or WiMAX systems, perhaps early version of CDMA has similar problems as GSM. But saying that '4G' is vulnerable is a pretty broad statement as it consists of at least LTE and WiMAX, and some US operators also refer to their WCDMA HSPA as 4G. There is also a difference between 'the standard has security flaws' and 'the operator has deployed an insecure network' as operators might run their network with security features turned off.

Anyway, the paranoid should turn of GSM and run WCDMA instead.


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