Mobile Phones: Does Speed Kill?


As 4G continues to become the norm on our devices, more and more worries are circulating regarding our mobile security.

The UK will soon become the third largest 4G market in Europe with almost 8 million people connected, whilst there are over 40 million connected in the United States, but there’s a growing concern that as more devices connect, we could be at greater risk of losing our personal and private information than ever before.

But is it truly that much different to 3G?

According to security firm Cloudmark it could. Unlike 3G, which uses a combination of IP and mobile signalling protocols, 4G uses all IP, which is more open, and has even in the past been taken advantage of by hackers over the years.

Chief technology officer at Cloudmark, Neil Cook said, “Hackers are generally well-versed in IP, so the attack surface is much greater than with the propriety stuff.

“A lot of people don’t realise that SIM card in your phone is so much more secure than an internet-enabled service where you just use usernames and passwords that get compromised continuously.”

An example of this can be found in new services soon to be rolled out by operators on the system.  Voice and video calling are expected to be featured on devices in the near future, and could potentially lead to hackers accessing your calls if they aren’t encrypted.

Which could be extremely damaging for LTE, as consumers may start being savvy and sticking to 3G – especially with their prices falling. Deals on sites such as Mobile Phones Direct are seeing 3G prices lower than ever before, and with less of a risk compared to its successor, plenty may revert.

Leonid Burakovsky, senior director of strategic solutions at F5, a company that specialises in Application Delivery Networking, agreed that there is a problem, with the main issue being the protection between the device and the network.

He said, “There needs to be more understanding of the user, the network, the app, and what people are trying to do when using their mobile devices.

“The message is clear: comprehensive multi-layer security should be an integral part of any LTE to deliver the level of security consistent with the many advantages of 4G – like lightning fast video downloads – that make up a great customer experience.”

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