Government Takes Action to Address Longstanding Security Vulnerabilities in Phone Networks

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The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is taking steps to address security flaws in American telephone networks, specifically the Signaling System Number 7 (SS7) and Diameter protocols. These protocols are essential for communication between fixed and mobile network operators, but they also come with vulnerabilities that can be exploited by foreign governments and surveillance groups.

One of the main concerns is the ability to track users’ locations, intercept calls and messages, and carry out network spoofing attacks. Despite the awareness of these issues dating back to at least 2008, little has been done to address them. As telecommunications networks expand, the risk of exploitation by bad actors increases.

The FCC has requested information from telecom providers regarding their efforts to prevent these vulnerabilities from being misused. They are seeking details on any exploits of the protocols since 2018, including the techniques used, the location tracking involved, and, if known, the attacker’s identity.

It is crucial for the FCC to address these security concerns promptly to ensure the privacy and security of American consumers. Interested parties have until April 26 to submit their comments, and the FCC will respond within a month. By implementing best practices and security measures, telecom providers can help safeguard their networks from potential attacks.

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