AT&T And 47 Other Carriers Worldwide Make Phones Vulnerable To Hijacking

Posted on May 22 2012 - 5:19am by Editorial Staff

Cult Of Mac – via Ars Technica – putting up that US carrier AT&T and 47 other carriers worldwide those having network vulnerability allows hackers to intercept cellular data and inject malicious content into the traffic that passes between smartphones and the websites they visit. The flaw then be used to transfer code to unencrypted pages which in turn results in user to perform unintended actions.

Ars Technica explains:

While intended to make the networks safer, these firewall middleboxes allow hackers to infer TCP sequence numbers of data packets appended to each data packet, a disclosure that can be used to tamper with Internet connections.

The vulnerability was discovered by researchers from the University of Michigan’s Computer Science and Engineering Department, who detailed their findings in a research paper:

The TCP sequence number inference attack opens up a whole new set of attack venues. It breaks the common assumption that communication is relatively safe on encrypted/protected WiFi or cellular networks that encrypt the wireless traffic. In fact, since our attack does not rely on sniffing traffic, it works regardless of the access technology as long as no application-layer protection is enabled.

The attacks were tested on 150 unnamed carriers worldwide, 48 of which were found to be using the vulnerable firewall. However, Zhiyun Qian, one of the coauthors of the paper, told Ars Technica that “there’s no reason to believe iOS devices from Apple can’t be hijacked as well.”

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