What is SS7 Security Flaw?

ss7 sms intercept

Many of us must have felt the scenarios when our online banking system asks us to enter our data again and again. Because the system fails to detect our account details. It is not only an alarming but irritating situation. We have to enter an authorization code to verify our identity.

For this purpose, we receive a message or phone call from the bank. Not only are bank accounts using this system of getting information. But other financial organizations are also collecting data for authentication around the world.

In February 2019, Metro Bank hack raised a major issue with Signaling System 7 (SS7). Mobile network operators (MNOs) use this set of protocols for the transfer of data. SS7 is an international telecommunications standard for transferring Calls, messages, and other data. This system ensures that information and costumers charges are valid. Mobile network operators (MNOs) are widely using this SS7 system for data transfers. It helps users for data roaming while they travel to any other country.

In 1974, when SS7 was invented there was not a single vulnerability issue. At that time of SS7 introduction, there were only limited network operators. But technology and the rapid increase in MNOs gave space to it. Now in the world of multiple MNOs, it has become possible to hack any mobile device using the SS7 system.

No doubt that these MNOs are struggling to protect their users. They are trying to devise the best security measures but their opponents are also learned. The equal distribution of knowledge has made it complex to protect the system from these smart intruders. If any MNOs adopt any tracker, fraudsters also find a solution to overcome it.

Of course, they are learned, skilled, and equipped with hacking tools and strategies. With these assistance’s, they successfully access connected telephony networks of their interest. These hackers use the phone numbers and use SS7 protocol to make their way to these vulnerabilities.

All MNOs experts and technologies are well familiar with these SS7 tragedies. The intricate nature of technology makes it difficult for them to find a permanent solution against these vulnerabilities. Many mobile networking systems decided to fight against these risks but faced hard and smart obstacles. Mostly during data roaming, SS7 cannot be filtered due to network range.

As far as hackers access the SS7 system, they can easily get hold on to mobile control. They can receive calls, messages, and forward them. It becomes impossible for MNOs and technologists to get the location of fraudsters.

Although in 2020, certain authentic and strict security measures have been introduced. But SS7 vulnerability is still at the mercy of these hackers. IT experts and technologists are introducing new protocols as a Diameter for 4G networks. Although, it secures the connection still there are chances of vulnerabilities. As 4G network also uses old compatibility of SS7 for transferring calls and messages.

A secure and protected protocol can help from these vulnerabilities. For designing such a secure protocol some factors are important. First, avoid steps that lead to risk. So, the eradication of intruders from a secure and effective communication system will reduce risk. Second, MNOs and other relevant companies should observe these cases regularly from start. So, these will help in the eradication of these vulnerable hacks from the mobile SS7 system.