A lack of security persists in many operator networks.
It is a scary scenario and one that has already happened. In Feb 2019 Metro bank in the UK reported that some of their customers had been hacked, even though the bank had implemented SS7 technology-based two-factor authentication for all online transactions. It is not the only bank whose customer accounts have been hacked, although hackings are rarely admitted.
There are and will be cases where telecom network addressing mechanisms are used to swindle unsuspecting victims. Telecom networks use SS7-signaling protocol to route calls and messages. But communication service providers are surprisingly poorly equipped to prevent fraudulent use of addressing mechanisms.
Operators constantly face new threats as cybercriminals work to find new ways of attacking. Via SS7 networks, cyber attackers may disrupt services, hijack profiles, track subscribers, and attack business processes or customer service experience.
In my opinion, the signaling network is one of the most valuable assets Communication Service Providers have.
As most attacks originate from other networks, the natural place to protect is the edge of the home networks. Here, an SS7 firewall can check all messages from other networks and analyse if any anomalies appear. Risky traffic can then be excluded from the home network.
With the evolution of new generations of mobile networks, new protocols have also been defined. Yet similar problems are still there. Hence, the GSM Association has defined a set of algorithms to protect the home network in its FS.11 and FS.19 specifications.
Wise network operators implement a firewall solution capable of protecting from both SS7 attacks and attacks on 4G/Diameter protocol. Complementing this with additional protection mechanisms secures the home network and revenues it generates for the operator for the foreseeable future.
Tieto's Evolved Signaling Controller is an all-in-one solution that seamlessly handles signalling control and routing in 2G, 3G and 4G networks as well as the upcoming 5G network. It has advanced signalling firewall functionality, covering both SS7 TDM and Sigtran, as well as Diameter traffic to protect the network from security threats.