A serious security flaw has emerged in the cell exchange system which allows hackers to hear your phone calls. Besides this, Hackers can even track you, check your messages by using your phone number.
Hackers Can Access Your Calls, Messages By Using Your Phone Number
Security experts from Germany claimed that hacking into a smartphone is not a big deal as the hackers have the potential to track persons calls, texts including their location. Experts even proved this by spying on a phone used by US Congressman, Ted Lieu hailing from California, who accepted to use the “off the shelf” iPhone despite knowing that it would be hacked.
The flaw was first proved by security expert from Germany Karsten Nohl in 2014 at a hacker conference in Hamburg Germany. According to report from CBS News “60 Minutes,” broadcast Sunday evening, still 2 years have passed and it shows how millions of smartphone owners are vulnerable to spying and under observation even after the improved security in present smartphones.
Smartphone users use Signalling System Seven [SS7] in order to call or message each other. SS7 acts as intermediacy between mobile networks. When you call or send messages across various networks, SS7 manages details like number translation, SMS transfer, billing and other details that connect one caller to another or network.
Once hacker successfully gains access to the SS7 system, he/she is able to read sent and received messages, track location of the person, and view call log to hear their phone calls by knowing the phone number of the victim.
Security researchers have been frequently warning about SS7 protocol flaws. Anyone could be targeted by such type of attack. In 2014, researcher Tobias Engel said that some companies sell the method to track anyone’s phone number.
Nohl said “The mobile network is independent from the little GPS chip in your phone, it knows where you are. So any choices that a congressman could’ve made, choosing a phone, choosing a pin number, installing or not installing certain apps, have no influence over what we are showing because this is targeting the mobile network. That, of course, is not controlled by any one customer.”
This serious security flaw should not be underestimated as it can result in the vital data theft including data breach. About $16 Billion was stolen from about 12.7 Million US consumers in 2014 according to the fraud study in 2015.