Latest in Gear

Image credit: J Pat Carter/Getty Images

LTE security holes could lead to fake emergency alerts

Others can spy on messages and track your location without consent.
508 Shares
Share
Tweet
Share
Save

Sponsored Links

J Pat Carter/Getty Images

Vulnerabilities in cellular network technology definitely aren't things of the past. Researchers at Purdue and the University of Iowa have outlined exploits in LTE protocols that would let intruders conduct ten serious attacks, including spying on calls and text messages, tracking locations, knocking devices offline and even faking emergency alerts. Intuders can take advantage of three key protocol tasks (such as attaching a device to the network and maintaining a connection) to conduct authentication relay attacks that not only let them connect to the network without credentials, but masquerade as the victim's device. A hacker could not only compromise the network, but frame someone else for the crime.

These aren't just theoretical attacks, either. The team tested eight of the ten attacks using SIM cards from four large US carriers.

While the issues have to do with LTE itself, it is possible to fix them -- at least one of the big US carriers already has. There's still a race against time, however. You can build the necessary LTE exploit tool for as little as $1,300 using readily available parts, so a determined attacker could infiltrate a network without an abundance of resources.

This stresses the importance of testing cell standards in the real world. It's relatively easy to fix security flaws before a standard is finalized and rolls out in earnest -- it's another when it's already in use by cell carriers that may have to patch vast networks.

All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.
Comment
Comments
Share
508 Shares
Share
Tweet
Share
Save

Popular on Engadget

US investigates escort and massage sites over human trafficking

US investigates escort and massage sites over human trafficking

View
Nissan envisions car-themed esports gaming chairs

Nissan envisions car-themed esports gaming chairs

View
AI can gauge the risk of dying from heart conditions

AI can gauge the risk of dying from heart conditions

View
OnePlus 7T Pro may debut on October 10th

OnePlus 7T Pro may debut on October 10th

View
'Minecraft' now has 112 million monthly players

'Minecraft' now has 112 million monthly players

View

From around the web

Page 1Page 1ear iconeye iconFill 23text filevr