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It is Dangerously Easy to Hack the World's Phones: How to get protected! By New Zealand's Merge Communications

Wednesday 26 June 2024, 2:42PM

By Media PA

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Samsung Knox
Samsung Knox Credit: Media PA

Experts have warned for years that a crucial technology at the centre of global communications is dangerously exposed. Recent evidence shows this technology has been used to spy on individuals both globally and in New Zealand. Merge Communications with Samsung Knox provides a robust solution to help protect against these threats.

Kevin Briggs, an official at America's Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, reported numerous incidents of unauthorised attempts to steal location data, monitor voice and text messages, and deliver spyware. This technology, known as Signalling System 7 (SS7) and its newer counterpart, Diameter, were developed decades ago for call management but are now widely exploited due to security weaknesses.

SS7 has been exploited for various malicious activities, such as spying on political figures and intercepting SMS authentication codes to steal money. More recently, hackers have eavesdropped on dissidents and stolen sensitive data for commercial gain through SS7 anomalies, further exposing the level of threat.

While some mobile operators are phasing out SS7, the protocol remains prevalent globally, including in New Zealand, where operators still use it for international roaming. Merge Communications with Samsung Knox offers a level of protection for mobile devices, providing enhanced security measures against these vulnerabilities. Samsung Knox is a multi-layered security platform, offering protection for mobile devices against a wide range of cyber threats. It creates containers and safe areas to protect data, significantly reducing the chances of successful attacks.

Users can protect themselves to some extent with end-to-end encrypted apps like WhatsApp, Signal, or iMessage, though these can also be compromised by sophisticated spyware. In some cases, devices can be infected without the user even realising it. The threat is real and pervasive; agencies worldwide have been equipped with advanced spyware by a network of surveillance suppliers.

To mitigate these risks, New Zealand’s telecom operators are continually enhancing network security, updating software, and conducting regular penetration tests. Merge Communications, through Samsung Knox, is leading the charge against spyware on mobile devices. Although no mobile device management (MDM) solution can fully prevent a cyber-attack, Samsung Knox reduces the likelihood of such attacks and can safeguard critical data.

Spyware and similar surveillance software frequently targets high-value individuals, but will start extending into the wider population, and the implications for privacy and security are profound and affect everyone in society.

It is imperative to address these vulnerabilities to ensure a safer communication network for all, providing peace of mind in an increasingly interconnected world. With the right measures, we can significantly reduce these threats and protect our communications infrastructure. Remember, the device you have may already be infected without your knowledge, making it crucial to implement robust security solutions like Samsung Knox.

Disclaimer: Samsung has developed a security solution called Knox that is built into their mobile devices. Data that you store in Knox is protected by military-grade encryption. For more details please visit: https://www.samsungknox.com/en/knox-platform/knox-certifications.

May vary between operating systems and devices.

Contact Merge Communications

info@merge.nz

0800 77 55 33

www.mergecom.co.nz

Contact Media PA

phillip@mediapa.co.nz

027 458 7724

www.mediapa.co.nz 

Reference1: https://citizenlab.ca/2023/10/finding-you-teleco-vulnerabilities-for-location-disclosure/

Reference2: https://www.newshub.co.nz/home/lifestyle/2024/06/iphone-android-users-warned-of-dangerous-zero-click-attacks-here-s-a-simple-method-to-protect-yourself.html

Reference3: https://www.economist.com/science-and-technology/2024/05/17/it-is-dangerously-easy-to-hack-the-worlds-phones