There has been a lot of talk in media and tech circles in recent years about the subject of information security and it’s seriousness in the ever evolving world of information technology. The result has been that companies all over the world have been investing billions of dollars each year to try to improve their security infrastructure and keep out hackers who would want to access sensitive information from them. But, even these measures have not been entirely successful if the large and ever increasing number of successful hacks of top companies worldwide is anything to go by. Until recently, however, this used to be a concern only for large companies with loads of sensitive data. Regular consumers using mobile phones and other personal computing devices did not have to be as worried and the result is that not much was done in the way of protection and security by the latter.
Things have changed much over recent years as hackers appear to have turned their focus from large companies with big data and are now targeting individuals through mobile telecommunications. You probably already know that your mobile service provider can track your phone and even access your call records and text messages. You know that they can do so but you are not worried about it because you know that it can benefit you if you should lose your phone and also because you are confident that they will never use that ability for any malicious purposes or they would be breaching their contracts with you. But what if someone else with no such code of conduct and no binding contracts with you had the same ability and could access your personal information and track you the same way? What if they could do all that anonymously without your knowledge and that of your network service provider? The implications here can be serious and far reaching. Yet this is exactly the position that the mobile communication industry finds itself in today thanks to existing flaws in communication systems between network operators.
Because different network operators do not have the same kind of data and systems, they have to be able to exchange information and communicate with each other every time a subscriber on one cellular network wishes to communicate with someone else on another cellular network. Signaling System 7, better known simply as SS7, is the system that cellular networks globally use to exchange such information with each other and facilitate this kind of communication. But now hackers have found ways to penetrate these systems thanks to SS7 flaws which allow them to access the same information as the cellular networks. Because of the SS7 Vulnerability, hackers can listen in on personal calls, read text messages and track phones and all they need is just the phone numbers of the users. Unfortunately, there is very little that the actual users of these devices can do to protect themselves from such attacks and only the cellular network operators can detect and fight off attacks through SS7 vulnerability using special tools such as PT Telecom Attack Discovery.