LTE Network Automation Under Threat (Black Hat Conference 2018)

The control and management of mobile networks is shifting from manual to automatic in order to boost performance and efficiency and reduce expenditures. Especially, base stations in today's 4G/LTE networks can automatically configure and operate themselves which is technically referred to as Self Organizing Networks (SON). Additionally, they can auto-tune themselves by learning from their surrounding base stations. This talk inspects the consequences of operating a rogue base station in an automated 4G/LTE network. We exploit the weaknesses we discovered in 4G/LTE mobile phones and SON protocols to inject malicious packets into the network. We demonstrate several attacks against the network and discuss mitigation from the mobile network operators perspective.

Speakers

Altaf Shaik

Altaf Shaik is a principal security researcher at Kaitiaki Labs and currently pursuing PhD at the Technical University of Berlin. He is experienced in analyzing cellular network technologies from radio to networking protocol layers. His recent renowned research includes low-cost 4G IMSI catchers and security issues in several cellular baseband chipsets.

Ravishankar Borgaonkar

Dr. Ravishankar Borgaonkar works as a research scientist at Sintef Digital and undertakes research in securing next generation digital communication. His primary research themes are related to mobile telecommunication and involved security threats. This ranges from 2G/3G/4G/5G network security to end-user device security. After receiving his PhD in 'security in telecommunication' area from the technical university of Berlin, he was a security researcher at Deutsche Telekom’s lab for 3 years. Since that time he has worked for Intel Collaborative Research Institute for Secure Computing at Aalto University, as well as for the University of Oxford. He has found several protocol flaws in 3G/4G technologies. The demonstrated vulnerabilities affected billions of 3G/4G devices and resulted a change in the existing 3G/4G communication standards.

Detailed Presentation:

(Source: Black Hat USA 2018, Las Vegas)

 

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