Naked Security: Anatomy of a dropped call – how to jam a city with 11 customised mobile phones

InsightaaS: Naked Security is a news/blog site hosted by security vendor Sophos. In this post, Paul Ducklin – described as a “passionate security proselytiser” – writes about a paper presented at a recent USENIX Security Forum by three German researchers, discussing how a single modified mobile phone could deliver a denial of service (DoS) attack against a targeted subscriber, and how a ring of 11 phones could disrupt mobile communications in a major city.

When you think of “signal jamming,” you probably imagine some kind of fine steel mesh that blocks out radio transmissions altogether, or a source of electromagnetic noise that interferes enough to make legitimate communication impossible.

But a paper presented by a trio of German researchers at the recent USENIX Security Symposium reveals a much more subtle approach to jamming mobile phone calls.

They were able to convert a single mobile phone into a denial of service (DoS) device that could be turned against another subscriber, perhaps wherever they roamed through a whole town or city…

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