Flaws In 4G & 5G Allows Hackers To Track Locations & Intercept Calls

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Flaws In 4G & 5G Allows Hackers To Track Locations & Intercept Calls

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Technical Researchers from Purdue University and the University of Iowa have exposed vulnerabilities in the data infrastructure of 4G and 5G networks, which lets attackers track down the location of any mobile phone on a given network. Furthermore, they can also snoop in on users during a phone call. With the advent of 5G not very far away, an exposed liability of this sort can be serious. 

About The Attacks

When 5G was announced, reports said that the new network would be more secure than the previous iteration. Instead, the researchers unveiled three different kinds of attacks which hackers can use to breach a network which is running on 4G or the upcoming 5G technology. They are known as Torpedo attacks, Piercers and IMSI-Cracking attacks.

Torpedo Attacks

iOS 11.3The primary form of breaching is called a Torpedo attack. It exploits a vulnerability in the paging protocols that various carriers such as Verizon and Sprint use. The protocol actually notifies the person about an incoming call or text message. As per reports, if multiple phone calls are made and dropped to a single node, it might trigger a paging message without informing the target device. This way, the hacker may derive the user’s location, and he can further hijack the paging channel via the IP address.

Piercer And IMSI-Cracking Attacks

The Piercer attack, which is an extension of the Torpedo attack allows the attacker to find out the IMSI (International Mobile Subscriber Identity) on the 4G network. In the third and final form of attack, the hacker can straightaway brute-force an IMSI number in both the networks (4G and 5G), which is exactly where the IMSI numbers are encrypted.

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As per reports, all major US operators which are trying to bring 5G functionality to their devices are at risk from this exploit. More so, because the equipment to carry out such an attack is very cheap and readily available.

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Anubhav Sharma
Game Geek, Hardware fanatic and Troubled by Repetitive Music. Anubhav covers Tech & Alt at iGyaan; Science, Medicine and Games