Security on the 5G, 4G and 3G environments, a powerful weapon against fraud:

06 October 2021

Alvaro Sanchez

Alvaro Sanchez

Government and military forces around the globe make use of ubiquitous civil GSM networks are being jeopardized when carrying out special missions, as well as individual citizens with fraudulent cell towers, security infrastructures to prevent missions failures are becoming essential to the military sector, not only in Asia but also around the world.

The most common problem with these types of fraudulent cell towers is that they can intercept and spoof messages and calls, so personnel privacy and mission operations can be compromised. These kinds of events typically occur in frontiers between countries or strategic areas, especially choke points, such as airports, ports, where hacking activities are intense over one of the most accessible devices, soldier’s cellphones/smartphones, which have an important role as they have personal information about soldiers and might have official statements. Moreover, these devices can act as a bridge between the pirates and the ships, where security systems are a weapon able to be hacked.

In Asia, there are countries that are going through a period of instability, where there are conflicts of interest, and pirate cell towers are a potential threat, with the main purpose of confusing troops, and give additional information to the evildoers, which has a fluid data exchange while connecting to its cell towers. Moreover, smartphones are designed to seek and detect the strongest signal, so the problem is that if a fake cell tower with a higher power signal than a legitime tower can be automatically selected by the phone itself, the user will not have any type of visibility of what is happening and how the data exchange is being proceeded. The information that could be obtained is sensitive, and the consequences of being intercepted are dramatic, and the worse about these leaks is that the smartphone user is totally unaware about being spied. The most effective solution to end up with fake towers is detecting them, and knowing where they are and notify soldiers for selecting manually another secure tower, as well as proceeding with the required action. A powerful technology that locates the cell towers and prevents them from connecting to smartphones.

Integrasys has developed a tool named RANMONITOR for fraudulent cell towers detection that has been recently tested satisfactorily in the Spanish Navy. A fraudulent cell installed aboard a military ship was successfully detected by RANMONITOR, identifying the threat and properly differentiating it from the rest of the legitimate cell stations deployed on the close coast. With such capability, and an easy interface, based in deep AI calculation, it is possible to make sure that soldiers’ mobile phones do not connect to the pirate station, minimizing attack possibilities. If any cellular phone connects to such an illegitimate station, Integrasys tools can record all of the signaling, calls and messages exchanged for further analysis. One of the most interesting key factors of this exercise is to match end-user needs with software tools providers to understand better government needs firsthand and customize such a solution to each end-user process and operations.