Hackers have once again managed to demonstrate that no matter how many security precautions we take with our mobile devices, they can easily track our location, spy on our phone calls and even spy on the text messages that we usually send through our phone number.
A security researcher demonstrated it live
This vulnerability was first demonstrated by a security researcher, known as, Karsten Nohl in 2014, during a hacking convention in Hamburg. Now, it has returned to demonstrate it in a well-known program of an American chain.
The trick uses the network exchange service, called signaling system 7 flaw (SS7), also known as C7 in the United Kingdom or CCSS7 in the United States, which acts as an intermediary between mobile phone networks.
While making calls or sending text messages over networks, SS7 handles details such as number interpretation, SMS transfer, billing and other functions that connect one network or the caller to another network.
If the SS7 system is accessed through hacking procedures, an attacker can track a person’s location-based on the triangulation of the phone’s mast, read their sent and received text messages. Not only that even they could also record and listen to phone calls as well, Simply by using the telephone number as an identifier.
Nohl, who is currently conducting the vulnerability analysis of SS7 flaw for several international mobile phone networks, demonstrated the consequences of hacking any number live.
In fact, he located the phone of a Californian American congressman from Berlin, using only his telephone number. In addition, Nohl was able to describe in detail the politician’s movements through Los Angeles and messages that he received as well as he also manages to listen to the calls that the politician made to his staff.
The biggest problem that users face is that they usually can’t able to take any precautions to avoid this type of espionage that directly attacks their privacy. Although hackers are demonstrating that they can break SS7 security, security services, including the US National Agency, also find it very useful to track down and spy on potential criminals.
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