Sunday, July 21, 2013

Million unsafe Sim cards: UN wants global alert cell phone providers - Spiegel Online

Boston – It’s a scary idea: Hackers hijack a cell phone with a single SMS, to then make calls with the foreign card, divert calls or even eavesdrop on conversations. That this scenario is not unrealistic, the rapid response of the United Nations (UN) points to a now become known vulnerability in which she warns on mobile phones insufficiently protected against hacker attacks.

The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) announced that it would alert shortly regulators and hundreds of cell phone providers in nearly 200 countries. A German company had previously discovered a vulnerability in mobile phones with an outdated encryption technology. Additionally could get at least half a billion mobile phones hacker access. The results showed that risks are to be expected on the Internet in the future, said ITU Secretary-General Hamadoun Toure.

security expert Karsten Nohl had recently pointed out in a report of “time-line” of this danger. Many cards used therefore an outdated and insecure encryption standard. Hackers could in some cases simply crack the sim cards without the victims noticed that. Was necessary in some cases to only one SMS message with malicious code that is sent to the mobile phone. If hackers have cracked the sim card, they might like the cell phone owner calls, send text messages and access to stored credit card numbers. Internet fraud and espionage would be made easy, said the ITU.

iPhones, Blackberrys, Android phones – are all at risk

affected are cell phones with SIM cards, where still the old DES encryption technology – a standard from the 1970s-is used, Nohl said. This is the case, equivalent to 900 million handsets according to the trade yet in at least one eighth of the SIM cards. In addition, all mobile phone types are vulnerable: Apple iPhones as well as powered by the Google Android software phones, BlackBerrys


mobile association GSMA, which represents almost 800 mobile operators worldwide, announced that he would review the test results. So the company Gemalto, industry leaders reacted among manufacturers of SIM cards.

Nohl is the CEO of Berlin-based Security Research Labs, whose clients include claims to large companies. He already had several different vulnerabilities in mobile phone network Revealed.


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