How Hackers Are Exploiting SS7?

ss7 attack

This era is considered as the era of mobile use. Every single person is involved in excessive use of the mobile phone. Mobile use has become an addiction to every person. From kids to professionals, every person is having these gadgets in their pockets.

Cyber-attacks over mobiles became more common with the arrival of 5G technology. No doubt that the world telecommunication system is facilitating people with the best internet services. These facilities not only bring comfort to the lives of people. But it is also impacting the safety of sensitive data on mobile phones. As hackers are not interested in all the information like that of music history. But, they exclusively attack your sensitive information.

What is SS7 and how can be used by hackers?

The introduction of advanced hacking techniques along with new software is making hacking more easily and proficient. People are now able to perform any task over the internet in a proficient way. But, this also marks a negative impact on the security of data. In 2019, the malware attacks percentage increased to 50% as proved by experts. At the end of 2020, the cyber attacks may increase to higher numbers.

Over the past few years, mobile networks are most prominently attacked by the SS7 protocol. This has a negative impact not only on users’ privacy but also on that of the service provider. SS7 was introduced in 1974, as a connector between different mobile devices. SS7 helps in the transfer of SMS and calls from one mobile device to another. Although its purpose of the invention was different. But, now being exploited in cyber-attacks.

More frequently hackers’ target area is to compromise the whole network. They attain all the information of the subscribers of the service providers. Once they gain access to information of service providers, they can securely access the personal information of all subscribers. In this way, they gain command on overall calls and messages. Moreover, they can trace the location of the desired person, even when his GPS is turned off. The whole process is done in such a secure way without any security alerts to the service provider.

SS7 protocol facilities the whole world’s ineffective communication. Mobile users are enjoying effective communication all over the world. The introduction of this protocol has more disadvantages. This makes people’s personal information more prone to cyber-attacks.

The protocol since its invention did not get any updated version. This is the reason it can be easily used in the world of hacking. Worlds’ biggest intelligence agencies are also using this protocol to get the necessary information legitimately. Unfortunately, all that information can also be easily accessed by hackers.

There are special telephony signaling protocols in SS7. This signaling protocol is responsible for connecting the phone call of one mobile to another. The protocol works proficiently both for wireless and wired public telephones.

Who is affected by the SS7 vulnerability?

With time, some more applications were added over the SS7 protocol. The basic purpose of this was the introduction of SMS services. Followed by the introduction of call forwarding, call waiting, conference calls, etc. With the introduction of all these new apps takes mobile devices towards frequent hacking. SS7 attacks are malware attacks over mobile devices.

Hackers gain access to personal phone calls and messages of the target devices. More frequent attacks are made over mobile service providers, to easily access all users. Attacks via the exploitation of SS7 is made towards phone communications, not over wifi communications.

The authentic capabilities of SS7 are used by hackers for attaining information about all communications. Hackers have to download the SS7 SDK from the internet for using the SS7 in hacking. Then, they use the SS7 SDK in a very technical way for attaining successful hacking.

This helps the hacker to connect to the SS7 network. After connecting, they go for the target network. The target device is unable to detect this. As the device is taking it as an MSC or VLR node.
The major activity that is performed by a hacker to even attain access to the most secured devices, is the ‘MitM phishing’ attack. After this attack, he proceeds for attaining the desired information. Hacker then proficiently get all the SMS and call details, along with tracing the exact location of the target person.

Most of the people use 2FA as a protector from malware attacks of SS7. But, this protection approach of mobile service providers is failing. As in these types of scenarios, hackers overcome it for using the codes via interception. They use codes for getting access to a large number of accounts even that of the bank.

Digital businesses are now standing at higher risk. Hackers are using the personal information of all digital businesses. They are doing all this securely with the ‘MitM phishing’ attack. Digital businesses are dependent on SS7 for conducting their communications.

Digital businesses send their important professional files, which all can be easily accessed by hackers. A large number of devices in the digital era are using mobile devices for transmitting professional important data. Digital businesses are at risk of facing higher cyber-attacks. But, they are paying no attention to overcome these attacks. This issue should be taken seriously by these businesses.