Exploiting open functionality in SMS-capable cellular networks

William Enck, Patrick Traynor, Patrick McDaniel, Thomas La Porta

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

138 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Cellular networks are a critical component of the economic and social infrastructures in which we live. In addition to voice services, these networks deliver alphanumeric text messages to the vast majority of wireless subscribers. To encourage the expansion of this new service, telecommunications companies offer connections between their networks and the Internet. The ramifications of such connections, however, have not been fully recognized. In this paper, we evaluate the security impact of the SMS interface on the availability of the cellular phone network. Specifically, we demonstrate the ability to deny voice service to cities the size of Washington D.C. and Manhattan with little more than a cable modem. Moreover, attacks targeting the entire United States are feasible with resources available to medium-sized zombie networks. This analysis begins with an exploration of the structure of cellular networks. We then characterize network behavior and explore a number of reconnaissance techniques aimed at effectively targeting attacks on these systems. We conclude by discussing countermeasures that mitigate or eliminate the threats introduced by these attacks.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationCCS 2005 - Proceedings of the 12th ACM Conference on Computer and Communications Security
Pages393-404
Number of pages12
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2005
EventCCS 2005 - 12th ACM Conference on Computer and Communications Security - Alexandria, VA, United States
Duration: Nov 7 2005Nov 11 2005

Publication series

NameProceedings of the ACM Conference on Computer and Communications Security
ISSN (Print)1543-7221

Other

OtherCCS 2005 - 12th ACM Conference on Computer and Communications Security
CountryUnited States
CityAlexandria, VA
Period11/7/0511/11/05

Fingerprint

Telecommunication services
Modems
Cables
Availability
Internet
Economics
Industry

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Software
  • Computer Networks and Communications

Cite this

Enck, W., Traynor, P., McDaniel, P., & Porta, T. L. (2005). Exploiting open functionality in SMS-capable cellular networks. In CCS 2005 - Proceedings of the 12th ACM Conference on Computer and Communications Security (pp. 393-404). (Proceedings of the ACM Conference on Computer and Communications Security). https://doi.org/10.1145/1102120.1102171
Enck, William ; Traynor, Patrick ; McDaniel, Patrick ; Porta, Thomas La. / Exploiting open functionality in SMS-capable cellular networks. CCS 2005 - Proceedings of the 12th ACM Conference on Computer and Communications Security. 2005. pp. 393-404 (Proceedings of the ACM Conference on Computer and Communications Security).
@inproceedings{a6272b7731ce43ffab20219e2f035c1b,
title = "Exploiting open functionality in SMS-capable cellular networks",
abstract = "Cellular networks are a critical component of the economic and social infrastructures in which we live. In addition to voice services, these networks deliver alphanumeric text messages to the vast majority of wireless subscribers. To encourage the expansion of this new service, telecommunications companies offer connections between their networks and the Internet. The ramifications of such connections, however, have not been fully recognized. In this paper, we evaluate the security impact of the SMS interface on the availability of the cellular phone network. Specifically, we demonstrate the ability to deny voice service to cities the size of Washington D.C. and Manhattan with little more than a cable modem. Moreover, attacks targeting the entire United States are feasible with resources available to medium-sized zombie networks. This analysis begins with an exploration of the structure of cellular networks. We then characterize network behavior and explore a number of reconnaissance techniques aimed at effectively targeting attacks on these systems. We conclude by discussing countermeasures that mitigate or eliminate the threats introduced by these attacks.",
author = "William Enck and Patrick Traynor and Patrick McDaniel and Porta, {Thomas La}",
year = "2005",
month = "12",
day = "1",
doi = "10.1145/1102120.1102171",
language = "English (US)",
isbn = "1595932267",
series = "Proceedings of the ACM Conference on Computer and Communications Security",
pages = "393--404",
booktitle = "CCS 2005 - Proceedings of the 12th ACM Conference on Computer and Communications Security",

}

Enck, W, Traynor, P, McDaniel, P & Porta, TL 2005, Exploiting open functionality in SMS-capable cellular networks. in CCS 2005 - Proceedings of the 12th ACM Conference on Computer and Communications Security. Proceedings of the ACM Conference on Computer and Communications Security, pp. 393-404, CCS 2005 - 12th ACM Conference on Computer and Communications Security, Alexandria, VA, United States, 11/7/05. https://doi.org/10.1145/1102120.1102171

Exploiting open functionality in SMS-capable cellular networks. / Enck, William; Traynor, Patrick; McDaniel, Patrick; Porta, Thomas La.

CCS 2005 - Proceedings of the 12th ACM Conference on Computer and Communications Security. 2005. p. 393-404 (Proceedings of the ACM Conference on Computer and Communications Security).

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

TY - GEN

T1 - Exploiting open functionality in SMS-capable cellular networks

AU - Enck, William

AU - Traynor, Patrick

AU - McDaniel, Patrick

AU - Porta, Thomas La

PY - 2005/12/1

Y1 - 2005/12/1

N2 - Cellular networks are a critical component of the economic and social infrastructures in which we live. In addition to voice services, these networks deliver alphanumeric text messages to the vast majority of wireless subscribers. To encourage the expansion of this new service, telecommunications companies offer connections between their networks and the Internet. The ramifications of such connections, however, have not been fully recognized. In this paper, we evaluate the security impact of the SMS interface on the availability of the cellular phone network. Specifically, we demonstrate the ability to deny voice service to cities the size of Washington D.C. and Manhattan with little more than a cable modem. Moreover, attacks targeting the entire United States are feasible with resources available to medium-sized zombie networks. This analysis begins with an exploration of the structure of cellular networks. We then characterize network behavior and explore a number of reconnaissance techniques aimed at effectively targeting attacks on these systems. We conclude by discussing countermeasures that mitigate or eliminate the threats introduced by these attacks.

AB - Cellular networks are a critical component of the economic and social infrastructures in which we live. In addition to voice services, these networks deliver alphanumeric text messages to the vast majority of wireless subscribers. To encourage the expansion of this new service, telecommunications companies offer connections between their networks and the Internet. The ramifications of such connections, however, have not been fully recognized. In this paper, we evaluate the security impact of the SMS interface on the availability of the cellular phone network. Specifically, we demonstrate the ability to deny voice service to cities the size of Washington D.C. and Manhattan with little more than a cable modem. Moreover, attacks targeting the entire United States are feasible with resources available to medium-sized zombie networks. This analysis begins with an exploration of the structure of cellular networks. We then characterize network behavior and explore a number of reconnaissance techniques aimed at effectively targeting attacks on these systems. We conclude by discussing countermeasures that mitigate or eliminate the threats introduced by these attacks.

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=33745796561&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=33745796561&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1145/1102120.1102171

DO - 10.1145/1102120.1102171

M3 - Conference contribution

AN - SCOPUS:33745796561

SN - 1595932267

SN - 9781595932266

T3 - Proceedings of the ACM Conference on Computer and Communications Security

SP - 393

EP - 404

BT - CCS 2005 - Proceedings of the 12th ACM Conference on Computer and Communications Security

ER -

Enck W, Traynor P, McDaniel P, Porta TL. Exploiting open functionality in SMS-capable cellular networks. In CCS 2005 - Proceedings of the 12th ACM Conference on Computer and Communications Security. 2005. p. 393-404. (Proceedings of the ACM Conference on Computer and Communications Security). https://doi.org/10.1145/1102120.1102171