The report comes from the Washington Post, which notes that a global network known as ’SS7’ is being used as a back door way to spy on virtually any mobile phone user anywhere on the planet, and pinpoint their locations and communications in real time.
SS7 is a network that interlinks the world’s mobile networks, so they can communicate with each other, and is an upgrade over earlier SS6, SS5 etc versions of this super background network.
The Post reports that the network was ‘first designed in the 1980s’ and has numerous security vulnerabilities that are being actively exploited by governments and anyone that knows about the flaws, with the security researchers noting they aren’t the first to become aware of this vulnerability.
Phone calls be ‘forwarded’ to a third party before being redirected back to the original person being called, encrypted calls and messages can be saved for ‘later decryption’, with both end-users and carriers able to be ‘defrauded’.
This means you can’t be sure you’re safe using your mobile phone as a phone, although various articles on the Internet on the topic state you’re able to protect yourself from the SS7 vulnerabilities by using FaceTime or other VoIP style programs.
That said, who knows who is listening in on your VoIP calls these days… if the entire mobile phone networks of the planet are being hacked into, what isn’t being hacked into?
Full details can be read at the Washington Post’s must-read story here.