Feeds

Free Libyana: Gadaffi networkjacker speaks!

Abushagur tells The Reg how he nabbed a network

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

GSM security is based on a shared secret, a cryptographic key stored on the SIM and on the Authentication Server. For the Libyana network that's in Tripoli and for the moment beyond the interim government's reach; so to make use of the existing SIMs the network has had to switch off all encryption.

That's not as serious as it sounds - many GSM networks around the world run without encryption thanks to US restrictions on exporting secure communications equipment. Such countries suffer from a certain amount of fraud from SIM cloning, and listening in to calls becomes easier, but not as easy as plugging into the routing hub, which is what governments usually do.

Ousama Abushagur is optimistic he'll be able to get the GSMA to hand over copies of the cryptographic keys for the 725,000 active users on Free Libyana, but we're not convinced - in the long term replacement SIMs might be the only solution if security is going to be restored.

Communication is essential to restore normality to the region, as well as enabling the interim government to coordinate municipal services and relief efforts. Satellite phones were already in use, but at $2,000 a time the cost was prohibitive; and interim-government officials weren't keen to stand around in open spaces, for prolonged periods, while talking on the phone.

The next thing is to get over-the-air provisioning to work, so subscribers whose numbers weren't in the captured VLRs can connect to the network without being manually added. Free Libyana also expects to have an SMSC running within the next week, so Libyans will be able to text as well as talking to their friends for free.

And free it will remain - there's no sign of a billing system for domestic calls as yet, while international dialling requires the use of pre-paid calling cards and is restricted to numbers registered with the operator. What happens when Libya returns to being a single country is harder to say, and will rather depend on whose country it ends up being; but for close to a million people Ousama Abushagur and his team have created connections where there were none, and made a lot of ordinary people much happier. ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
YOU are the threat: True confessions of real-life sysadmins
Who will save the systems from the men and women who save the systems from you?
Download alert: Nearly ALL top 100 Android, iOS paid apps hacked
Attack of the Clones? Yeah, but much, much scarier – report
Broadband sellers in the UK are UP TO no good, says Which?
Speedy network claims only apply to 10% of customers
Virgin Media struck dumb by NATIONWIDE packet loss balls-up
Turning it off and on again fixes glitch 12 HOURS LATER
Ofcom snatches 700MHz off digital telly, hands it to mobile data providers
Hungry mobe'n'slab-waving Blighty swallows spectrum
Fujitsu CTO: We'll be 3D-printing tech execs in 15 years
Fleshy techie disses network neutrality, helmet-less motorcyclists
Facebook, working on Facebook at Work, works on Facebook. At Work
You don't want your cat or drunk pics at the office
Soz, web devs: Google snatches its Wallet off the table
Killing off web service in 3 months... but app-happy bonkers are fine
prev story

Whitepapers

Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Simplify SSL certificate management across the enterprise
Simple steps to take control of SSL across the enterprise, and recommendations for a management platform for full visibility and single-point of control for these Certificates.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.