Telecommunications security researchers have developed an economic and relatively simple method to intercept calls from a laptop computer by locating a specific mobile phone and following its every move from over 500 meters and storing copies of the conversations.
According to these specialists, GSM technology has become anachronistic when it comes to security and privacy.
GSM (Global System for Mobile communications) technology dominates the mobile phone market, it is used in millions of cell phones worldwide, but many of its components were developed in the 80s and are vulnerable to attacks by 21st century hackers.
The privacy of the calls made with GSM mobile phones is based on an encrypting mechanism and the fact that mobile service towers quickly change the way in which they identify each device that gets connected to them.
The researchers were able to decipher the mathematical algorithm used to encrypt conversations and used it to decode the calls. Their work tools are: a laptop computer and a specific cell phone model of a well-known brand whose operative system base had been deciphered and details published online.
The programmers use that information to create an original program that allows them to obtain hidden technical information from mobile service towers.
These specialists guarantee it’s only a matter of time until someone makes these espionage tools public, and that could help criminals walk the streets with light equipment, similar to the one used by the researchers, listening and recording conversations.
The fact that researchers and criminals are concentrating more in mobile phones has led the main mobile phone providers to take measures being that their reputation is at stake and they don’t want to be branded as companies that use insecure networks.
For those worried about their cell phones’ safety, if you have the right kind of device, use only 3G networks, as they occupy a much more powerful encrypted system.
They can also install encrypting software for prevention. There are many applications of this kind available for smart phones.