Publication performed by Alexandre De Oliveira and Pierre-Olivier Vauboin during Hackito Ergo Sum 2014
Mobile telecommunication networks are complex and provide a wide range of services, making them a tempting target for fraudsters and for intelligence agencies. Moreover, the architecture, equipment and protocols used on these networks were never designed with security in mind, availability being the first concern. Today, even though some telecom operators are investing money into securing their network, events confirm that for most of them maturity in term of security is yet to come, as recently shown with the example of massive traffic interception on compromised SCCP and GRX providers like Belgacom’s BICS. Here we present the most typical and legitimate telecom callflows from making a mobile phone call to sending a SMS. Then we describe the protocol layers involved and how to abuse them, which fields can be manipulated in order to attack both the operator infrastructure and its subscribers. Finally, we show a real life example of scan performed from an international SS7 interconnection and practical attacks on subscribers such as spam, spoofed SMS and user location tracking.