100% of 4G networks are susceptible to denial-of-service attacks and 5G is not immune

Research into Diameter reveals the underpinning protocol’s biggest threat to 4G users is denial of service

The Diameter signaling protocol is used to authenticate and authorise messages and information distribution in 4G networks. The vulnerabilities in the protocol means 5G networks built on top of previous generation networks will also inherit the same threats—such as tracking user location, obtaining sensitive information, and in some cases downgrading users to insecure 3G networks.

Other vulnerabilities in the Diameter protocol mean external actors could track subscriber location and obtain a subscriber’s sensitive information that could be used to intercept voice calls, bypassing restrictions on mobile services.

The role of telecommunications is especially important today, at a time when COVID-19 has led to mandated isolation and quarantine in many countries. Remote work requires high-quality communication in order to work with colleagues, customers and clients, not to mention the demand for entertainment services as a pastime. Malicious actors may take advantage of the massive transition to remote work to compromise resources and steal data. Network traffic interception is a major risk, and can be undertaken using a range of techniques — from rouge BTS to Diameter exploitation — where hackers will try to extract user credentials. This situation — where people are more reliant on the networks than ever before — demonstrates how crucial strong cybersecurity is for all mobile operators.

Download the full report to learn more about Diameter security flaws.

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