Oxford University uncovers Wireless Flaw at Blackhat USA 2017

Joint research reveals vulnerability of 3G and 4G devices deployed worldwide

Partners from the University of Oxford have worked with ETH Zurich and TU Berlin on vulnerabilities in 3G and 4G devices. Results were presented at the world’s leading information security event Blackhat USA 2017 running 26-27 July, in a paper entitled "New adventures in spying 3G and 4G users: Locate, Track & Monitor" by Ravishankar Borgaonkar and Andrew Martin (University of Oxford), Lucca Hirschi (ETH Zurich), and Shinjo Park, Altaf Shaik and Jean-Pierre Seifert (TU Berlin).

5G security community called upon to address encryption flaw in 3G and 4G LTE wireless networks

An encryption flaw in 3G and 4G LTE wireless networks could allow the tracking of a phone's location. This is an oversight not of a single carrier but an issue with 3G and 4G protocols, making every carrier of these networks susceptible. By monitoring activities like the sending and receiving of text messages and placement of phone calls an attacker could track the physical location of a device.

According to the researchers, there is really no way to defend against this kind of tracking. The research team and others in the security community are hopeful that the 5G networks carriers will soon start addressing the issue.

Media coverage of 5G-ENSURE partner research at Blackhat USA 2017

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