Have you ever wondered how your calls always connect with the person you want to contact? That is because of SS7 (Signalling System 7). Today I am going to tell you all about SS7 protocol and SS7 HACKING that you should know and how hackers are using to steal your information.
What is SS7?
Signalling System 7 (SS7) or Common Channel Signalling System (CCSS7) in US or Common Channel Interoffice Signalling System 7(CCISS7) is a technology used in telecommunication. It is a set of Signalling protocols used to set up and tear down most of the world’s Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN). This system also performs number translation, local number portability, prepaid billing, Short Message Service (SMS), and other mass market services. It is responsible for the connection of your calls and SMS (Short Message Service) to the person you want to contact. This is used in both the ends for a proper connection between two mobile phones.
It consists of several layers:
- Transaction Capabilities Application Part (TCAP)
- Signaling Connection Control Part (SCCP)
- Message Transfer Part 3 (MTP3)
- Message Transfer Part 2 (MTP2)
- Physical Layer
How SS7 Works?
Signalling System 7(SS7) is responsible for all the call management features like conference calling, voicemail, call waiting, etc. Its role in telecommunication is very critical because of its functionality. It is responsible for delivering your call or SMS to the right person. Whenever you call someone, your SIM (Subscriber Identification Module) sends the signal to the network provider server; it then sends the signal to the SIM you want to call. Where is the role of SS7 in this whole scenario? SS7 has a major role in this and without SS7 this call cannot be connected with the right person. The role of SS7 here is telling the network provider server that to which SIM it should send the signal. Without SS7 we would not be able to call or SMS the right person. You will call to someone and it will randomly connect to someone else.
How Hackers Use SS7 protocol for SS7 attack?
Now comes the point how is actually SS7 HACKING done.
As SS7 is a very complex protocol, it has some weakness in its design. Hackers use that weakness to attack a person by only getting is a mobile number. The attack done by exploiting the vulnerability in SS7 is known as an SS7 attack. It can be very dangerous depending on the purpose of the hacker. A hacker just hacks your network provider and interrupts all data which is sent/ received between you and your network provider. It’s kind of Man-in-the-middle-attack (MIMT). By this attack, a hacker can track your mobile phone location from virtually anywhere in the world.
Man in the Middle Attack
The hackers use SS7 vulnerability to interrupt their data.
- Data Theft (your personal data and sensitive information)
- Eavesdropping (secretly listening to your conversations)
- Text interception (reading or changing your messages)
- Location tracking
These were the cyber-crimes done by the SS7 attack and SS7 HACKING has become quite common in nowadays. Basically, a hacker can gain full access to your phone which is very dangerous. He can read your private conversations on different social platforms. He can get access to your online bank account and can also bypass the OTP (One Time Password) verification. The SS7 attack can be a very powerful attack. Only professinal hackers know how to do that. Some private companies and white hat hackers are still researching on SS7 and trying to make software through which police can easily track criminals.
SS7 HACKING: How can you protect yourself?
This is a really hard question given that the vulnerabilities and possibilities of this attack rely on the systems outside of user control. It is very little you can do to protect yourself beyond not using the services. The hacker does SS7 attack network company hence the user itself cannot stop the attack. Hackers do SS7 hacking attack on famous people to leak important information. But there are some points to keep in mind in order to minimize the effect of this attack.
You can follow the following steps to protect yourself from SS7 hacking.
- Choose your network provider wisely. Hackers use SS7 protocol only to attack weak network providers.
- If attacked, immediately switch off your phone and remove the SIM card.
- Look for software’s to prevent such attacks
- Use encrypted message services.
- Always use wifi that is a secured connection. Public wifis are always unsafe.
How hackers are using SS7 to drain brain accounts
In 2017 hackers attacked a foreign network provider in Germany and redirected their SMS towards them. The attackers actually exploited the two-stage verification in bank transactions.
They first created spam emails to inject trojans and RATS in the account holders device. Then these cybercriminals purchased the network from a telecom provider and redirect SMS’es on their device exploiting SS7 protocol. By this way, the OTP’s were redirected to attackers device and they could easily drain the bank balance.
Final words on SS7
That’s all about SS7 hacking. If you want to know more or have any queries, just comment down below. I hope you find this article helpful. Share it with your friends and close ones to make them aware of this. Stay safe and tuned for more such cybersecurity-related updates. If you have any queries then you can share your opinions in the comment box. Thank you for reading
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