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5G vulnerable to snooping: Report

News Agencies | Updated on: 2 February 2019, 16:05 IST

Ahead of the roll-out of the advanced 5G network protocol, researchers have revealed the sheer vulnerability in the network that allows for spying of data over airwaves.

A research paper by researchers from the Technical University of Berlin, ETH Zurich and SINTEF Digital Norway details the privacy threat with the 5G network. The vulnerability affects Authentication and Key Agreement (AKA) that ensures your phone securely communicates with cellular networks, Cnet reports.

The security vulnerability allows for hackers or data thieves to steal information from 5G airwaves such as the number of calls made, text messages sent, and so on. Although the researchers tested the threat on an existing 4G network, the attacks can apply to 5G networks once they are available.

The threat is in contradiction to the protection 5G was supposed to provide against International Mobile Subscriber Identity or IMSI catchers which impersonate cell towers to spy on phones with older connections.

As the vulnerability has been discovered well ahead of the protocol roll-out, researchers could possibly fix the loophole. 5G is scheduled to be rolled out at the end of 2019.


First published: 2 February 2019, 16:05 IST