Telcos the world over were running networks tantamount to “technology sandwiches” where layers of legacy kit had created such high complexity that operators were unaware of glaring holes which Langlois regularly revealed in penetration tests.
“We accessed [an operator's] systems through their x25 network which they never knew was running because the network vendor never disclosed it — it was just underlying technology.”
3GPP Long Term Evolution, usually referred to as LTE, is a standard for wireless communication of high-speed data for mobile phones and data terminals. It is based on the GSM/EDGE and UMTS/HSPA network technologies, increasing the capacity and speed using new modulation techniques. The standard is developed by the 3GPP (3rd Generation Partnership Project).
Although commonly referred to as a type of 4G wireless service, LTE release 8 currently in use does not satisfy the requirements set forth by the ITU-R organization. Future releases of LTE (referred to as LTE Advanced) are expected to satisfy the requirements to be considered 4G.
The 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) unites [Six] telecommunications standards bodies, known as “Organizational Partners” and provides their members with a stable environment to produce the highly successful Reports and Specifications that define 3GPP technologies.
These technologies are constantly evolving through – what have become known as – Generations of commercial cellular / mobile systems. 3GPP was originally the standards partnership evolving GSM systems towards the 3rd Generation. However, since the completion of the first LTE and the Evolved Packet Core specifications, 3GPP has become the focal point for mobile systems beyond 3G.
OsmocomBB is an Free Software / Open Source GSM Baseband software implementation.
It intends to completely replace the need for a proprietary GSM baseband software, such as
- drivers for the GSM analog and digital baseband (integrated and external) peripherals
- the GSM phone-side protocol stack, from layer 1 up to layer 3
In short: By using OsmocomBB on a compatible phone, you are able to make and receive phone calls, send and receive SMS, etc. based on Free Software only.
The researchers demonstrated how easy it was to track down a cellular device within a 10-block area in Minneapolis using a T-Mobile G1 smartphone and open source technology. They never contacted the service provider to conduct the test.
PDF can be had here.
A5/1 is a stream cipher used to provide over-the-air communication privacy in the GSM cellular telephone standard. It was initially kept secret, but became public knowledge through leaks and reverse engineering. A number of serious weaknesses in the cipher have been identified.