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GSM users are prone to hacking

About 80 percent of the global GSM users are prone to attacks by hackers.

GSM phone users are prone to attacks from hackers, according to German Security Research Labs’ expert on mobile security, Karsten Nohl.

Raising the alarm, Nohl said a serious vulnerability in the GSM (Global System for Mobile Communication) technology could lead to misuse of any handset. Nohl further explained that hackers could gain remote control of the phones to send text message or calling instructions. Hundreds or even thousands of GSM network supporting mobile phones can be attacked in short span of time.

Nohl stated that about 80 percent of the global mobile populous uses GSM technology based handset. Fraudsters and hackers can use that vulnerability to make calls, send text messages from the victim’s phone. Nohl told Reuters, “We can do it to hundreds of thousands of phones in a short timeframe.”

Victims don’t get to know about this until the full itemized mobile phone bill is checked thoroughly. Nohl didn’t present the details of the hack used to deploy such attacks but stated that hackers usually replicate the code in matter of weeks.

Security Research Labs reviewed about 32 network operators in 11 different countries and found out that none of the networks protect the users properly. Only T-Mobile in Germany and SFR in France provided best protection against the call interception or movement tracking.

As per Nohl’s suggestion, the mobile network operators can offer better security by updating the system software. He also pointed that mobile networks is the weakest part of the mobile ecosystem even when compared to the modern day mobile operating systems like Google Android or Apple iOS.

Currently, we aren’t aware of the security measures taken by the Indian Mobile Network operators. But such security ‘hygiene’ checks are always beneficial in long run.

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