Exploiting open functionality in SMS-capable cellular networks.

Journal of Computer Security 01/2008; 16:713-742. DOI: 10.3233/JCS-2007-0308
Source: DBLP

ABSTRACT Cellular networks are a critical component of the economic and social infrastructures in which we live. In addition to voice services, these networks deliver alphanumeric text messages to the vast majority of wireless subscribers. To encourage the expansion of this new service, telecommunications companies of- fer connections between their networks and the Internet. The ramifications of such connections, however, have not been fully recognized. In this paper, we evaluate the security impact of the SMS interface on the availability of the cellular phone network. Specifically, we describe the ability to deny voice service to cities the size of Washington DC and Manhattan with little more than a cable modem. Moreover, attacks targeting the entire United States are feasible with resources available to medium-sized zombie networks. This analysis begins with an exploration of the structure of cellular networks. We then characterize net- work behavior and explore a number of reconnaissance techniques aimed at effectively targeting attacks on these systems. We conclude by discussing countermeasures that mitigate or eliminate the threats intro- duced by these attacks.

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    ABSTRACT: Mobile networks are vulnerable to signalling attacks and storms that are caused by traffic patterns that overload the control plane, and differ from distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks in the Internet since they directly affect the control plane, and also reserve wireless bandwidth and network resources without actually using them. Such storms can result from malware and mobile botnets, as well as from poorly designed applications, and can cause service outages in 3G and 4G networks which have been experienced by mobile operators. Since the radio resource control (RRC) protocol in 3G and 4G networks is particularly susceptible to such storms, we analyze their effect with a mathematical model that helps to predict the congestion that is caused by a storm. A detailed simulation model of a mobile network is used to better understand the temporal dynamics of user behavior and signalling in the network and to show how RRC-based signalling attacks and storms cause significant problems in both the control and user planes of the network. Our analysis also serves to identify how storms can be detected, and to propose how system parameters can be chosen to mitigate their effect.
    01/2015; DOI:10.1109/TETC.2015.2389662
  • Natural Hazards Review 11/2012; 13(4):260-271. DOI:10.1061/(ASCE)NH.1527-6996.0000078 · 0.79 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: —The GSM (renamed Global System for Mobile communications) initiative gave the European mobile communications industry a new pulse. Being one of the most used wireless technologies – in European mobile – GSM can have vulnerabilities in infrastructure. Radio resources are limited and this is a serious reason for increasing the importance of security. Attacks on GSM networks can cause serious damage such as social impact or losses of incomes. In most cases we are dealing with a vulnerability to Denial of Service (DoS) attacks. The present work emphasizes the problem of GSM networks vulnerability to DoS attacks, and makes proposals to improve security against these attacks.


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