Mobile phones increasingly susceptible to illegal hacking

With mobile phone hacking as topical as ever, UK businesses have been advised that the calls they make on their mobile phones could be intercepted by hackers from all over the world. The warning comes following recent research highlighting a flawed infrastructure which was designed in the 1980s.

This isn’t hacking as we saw it in the News International phone hacking scandal, which had little to do with the phones themselves, but rather involved unauthorised remote access to voicemail systems.

Instead, mobile phone hackers could take advantage of flaws in the “SS7″ network to decode confidential details exchanged in a phone call or text.

The “SS7″ network is a system of protocols which is used by networks around the planet to start and end phone calls and route text messages.

The research carried out by German security specialists found that individuals or companies could take advantage of the flaws in the network to decipher confidential details exchanged in a phone call or text.

The specialists have detailed how it would be possible to use genuine features of the system designed to keep a phone call going when the user is driving, by switching from one tower to another, for shameful, illegal purposes.

Investigators have stated that despite certain networks seeking out means of prevention and protection they may still be vulnerable, as the setup was created with cross-country communication in mind.

“It’s like you secure the front door of the house, but the back door is wide open,” Tobias Engel, one of the German researchers, told the Washington Post.

Phone hacking is illegal in countless countries unless it is carried out by a government agency as lawful interception.

In the News International phone hacking scandal, private investigator Glenn Mulcaire was found to have desecrated the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 and was penalised with six months in prison in January 2007.

However, research shows us that unlawful hacking does not seem to be disappearing any time soon, despite the considerable punishment.

Jelf specialise in offering cyber liability insurance to businesses, a form of insurance which is often overlooked in the cyber-centric business world of today.

Ultimately, what we say to our clients is, ‘if in doubt, just ask’. It is much easier to sort out any issues before they arise than in the aftermath of a mobile hacking.