The Growing Risk of Cellular Communication

How secure are your phone calls?

By Sue Poremba | Posted Feb 25, 2010
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How secure are your phone calls?

That was the topic of discussion among security experts during a webinar on the vulnerabiity of cell phones.  As Nicole D'Amour of SecuritySearch.com wrote:

With more company business being done on mobile devices, personally identifiable information (PII), intellectual property and trade secrets are at higher risk of theft from people using GSM hacking software, which was made readily available following last year's encryption crack. But other voice data risks exist as well, such as mobile device users being unaware of their surroundings.

Simon Bransfield-Garth, CEO of Cellcrypt, who hosted the conference, pointed out that the loss of privacy has been a problem since the invention of the telephone.  However, with the rise of cell phone communication, the risk of having that privacy breached has increased exponentially.

As MacDonnell Ulsch, president and chief risk analyst at ZeroPoint Risk Research, said, we've all passively listened to someone else's phone calls, but you are only hearing one side of the conversation. But phones can be hacked into and that allows for both sides of the conversation to be heard, risking the loss of private data.

If we look at the issue of strategic convergence in the context of cell phones and ability to break that encryption algorithm, there are a lot of implications that arise, and I think they have to do with everything from regulatory compliance to the loss of personal information and intellectual property.

He added that the cellular communication becomes the new arena for the ciminal element of the world.  Cell phones will likely be the botnets of the future. This is because as cellular technology increases, people will be using cell phones in areas where Internet connections aren't available, particularly in Third World countries, which are among the more than 100 nations focused on stealing U.S. technology and intellectual property. 

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