Feeds

SIM crypto CRACKED by a SINGLE text, mobes stuffed with spyware

German boffin's SMS-of-pwnage extracts DES key from your pocket

SANS - Survey on application security programs

A quarter of mobiles phones using DES encryption rather than the newer triple-DES for their SIM cards are vulnerable to an attack via SMS that results in a complete takeover of the phone.

German security researcher Karsten Nohl, founder of Berlin's Security Research Labs, who previously busted GPRS encryption and cracked transport smartcard encryption keys with a microscope, has told the New York Times and Forbes about the attack, which he will outline to the August Black Hat conference in Las Vegas.

While Nohl is holding back some details of the attack until his Black Hat convention talk, he says he has developed a technique that allows him to obtain the 56-bit DES encryption key of a SIM by sending a text message that spoofs the phone's operator. With the key in hand, a second text message will install software on the target device that takes over the phone completely – including eavesdropping and impersonation attacks.

“We can spy on you. We know your encryption keys for calls. We can read your SMSs. More than just spying, we can steal data from the SIM card, your mobile identity, and charge to your account”, Nohl told the NYT.

Forbes' report suggests Java Card, an Oracle product Big Red says "provides a secure environment for applications that run on smart cards and other devices with very limited memory and processing capabilities", is the source of the vulnerability.

Of the six billion mobiles currently in service, about half still use DES encryption. In a sample of 1,000 SIMs tested over two years, Nohl said one-quarter were vulnerable – which suggests as many as 750 million vulnerable devices are in the field.

Nohl has disclosed the vulnerability in full to the GSM Association, and the ITU is planning an advisory to all mobile phone operators. ®

SANS - Survey on application security programs

More from The Register

next story
Samsung Galaxy S5 fingerprint scanner hacked in just 4 DAYS
Sammy's newbie cooked slower than iPhone, also costs more to build
Leaked pics show EMBIGGENED iPhone 6 screen
Fat-fingered fanbois rejoice over Chinternet snaps
Oh no, Joe: WinPhone users already griping over 8.1 mega-update
Hang on. Which bit of Developer Preview don't you understand?
Microsoft lobs pre-release Windows Phone 8.1 at devs who dare
App makers can load it before anyone else, but if they do they're stuck with it
Rounded corners? Pah! Amazon's '3D phone has eye-tracking tech'
Now THAT'S what we call a proper new feature
Feast your PUNY eyes on highest resolution phone display EVER
Too much pixel dust for your strained eyeballs to handle
Zucker punched: Google gobbles Facebook-wooed Titan Aerospace
Up, up and away in my beautiful balloon flying broadband-bot
US mobile firms cave on kill switch, agree to install anti-theft code
Slow and kludgy rollout will protect corporate profits
Sony battery recall as VAIO goes out with a bang, not a whimper
The perils of having Panasonic as a partner
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.