On cellular botnets: Measuring the impact of malicious devices on a cellular network core

Patrick Traynor, Michael Lin, MacHigar Ongtang, Vikhyath Rao, Trent Jaeger, Patrick McDaniel, Thomas La Porta

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

153 Scopus citations

Abstract

The vast expansion of interconnectivity with the Internet and the rapid evolution of highly-capable but largely insecure mobile devices threatens cellular networks. In this paper, we characterize the impact of the large scale compromise and coordination of mobile phones in attacks against the core of these networks. Through a combination of measurement, simulation and analysis, we demonstrate the ability of a botnet composed of as few as 11,750 compromised mobile phones to degrade service to area-code sized regions by 93%. As such attacks are accomplished through the execution of network service requests and not a constant stream of phone calls, users are unlikely to be aware of their occurrence. We then investigate a number of significant network bottlenecks, their impact on the density of compromised nodes per base station and how they can be avoided. We conclude by discussing a number of countermeasures that may help to partially mitigate the threats posed by such attacks.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationCCS'09 - Proceedings of the 16th ACM Conference on Computer and Communications Security
Pages223-234
Number of pages12
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2009
Event16th ACM Conference on Computer and Communications Security, CCS'09 - Chicago, IL, United States
Duration: Nov 9 2009Nov 13 2009

Publication series

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

Other

Other16th ACM Conference on Computer and Communications Security, CCS'09
CountryUnited States
CityChicago, IL
Period11/9/0911/13/09

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Software
  • Computer Networks and Communications

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    Traynor, P., Lin, M., Ongtang, M., Rao, V., Jaeger, T., McDaniel, P., & La Porta, T. (2009). On cellular botnets: Measuring the impact of malicious devices on a cellular network core. In CCS'09 - Proceedings of the 16th ACM Conference on Computer and Communications Security (pp. 223-234). (Proceedings of the ACM Conference on Computer and Communications Security). https://doi.org/10.1145/1653662.1653690