Although the term “cyber attack” is strongly related to the internet and the Internet Protocol in particular, we tend to forget that many modern infrastructures from other sectors and types of telecommunications have also evolved into IP-based infrastructures, thus facing the same security challenges. This is exactly the case of mobile communication infrastructures which have evolved from traditional circuit-based networks into broadband and IP-based networks. Unfortunately, their evolution was based on the interconnection of old, non-secure but isolated at that time protocols, like the signaling standard SS7, with the IP world. In particular, SIGTRAN was the extension of SS7 and was used to carry PSTN signaling over IP.
Recent assessments of the security of signaling protocols reveal that the vulnerabilities of many network components can allow an intruder to perform dangerous attacks that may lead to direct financial loss, confidential data leakage or disruption of communication services and loss of credibility for telecommunications providers. In particular, security weaknesses of signaling protocols and mobile infrastructures may allow the attacker to:
- Discover a subscriber’s location.
- Cause service disruption.
- Intercept communications (voice and sms).
- Alternate calls / routing of messages.
- Bypass service charges.
- Extract subscriber database.
It is important to stress that these attacks can be realised by attackers with basic skills, using legitimate SS7 messages and without the need of sophisticated equipment. This practically means that the vulnerability of those systems is very high.
In order to secure the mobile infrastructure and control the level of exposure, it is essential to adopt a holistic approach by analysing the entire mobile network with its interconnections and components, assessing vulnerabilities and risks, and developing protection and detection strategies.
Neurosoft offers a set of solutions and services for the protection of SS7 networks:
- Security testing and vulnerability assessments (signaling protocols, Radio Access Networks, Telecom equipment, mobile applications, OSS/Billing/CRM/ERP systems)
- SS7/SIGTRAN interconnection and Architecture Audits.
- Identification of vulnerabilities and configuration weaknesses including authentication, encryption, network isolation and firewall verification.
- SS7 Penetration testing (External, Internal).
- Security Assessments.
- Security and compliance audits (known zero-day vulnerabilities, security policies and procedures).
- Investigation of security incidents and forensic analysis.
- Vulnerability research of new technologies, protocols and applications.
- Monitoring of SS7 traffic.
- Attacks and Fraud Analysis.
- Configuration Hardening Guides and Checklists developed for a wide range of core equipment.