Researcher Karsten Nohl, an expert in data security, started a campaign against the major mobile operators in order to determine the adoption of more stringent measures to secure data traffic created by the users of mobile internet services.
To demonstrate how vulnerable users of mobile Internet connections are to hackers interested in spying them, he created a software application that once installed on the mobile phone allows us to monitor all data traffic carried by GPRS.
The owner of such a GPRS interceptor can track Web surfing habits of other people and even intercept sensitive data, such as passwords or credit card details.
The whole demonstration was made possible thanks to a cheap Motorola smartphone and some free applications, modified to allow the interception and decryption of data traffic transmitted in the mobile networks using GPRS.
The researcher wanted to point out that the encryption algorithms used for secure connections in mobile networks cannot provide effective protection even in the face of attackers poorly trained and are even lacking in some operators.
Apparently, mobile phone operators choose not to implement the algorithms performance for secure connections in order to monitor data traffic carried out by users, to facilitate the detection and blocking the viruses that spread inside the network and the detection and blocking of Skype connections.
Two years ago, the same researcher revealed the algorithms required for decrypting the calls carried by GSM networks. Last year he launched an application that allows users to verify if the calls initiated in the telephone networks can be bugged or not by malevolent persons.
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