Exposing LTE security weaknesses at protocol inter-layer, and inter-radio interactions

Muhammad Taqi Raza, Fatima Muhammad Anwar, Songwu Lu

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

11 Scopus citations

Abstract

Despite security shields to protect user communication with both the radio access network and the core infrastructure, 4G LTE is still susceptible to a number of security threats. The vulnerabilities mainly exist due to its protocol’s inter-layer communication, and the access technologies (2G/3G) inter-radio interaction. We categorize the uncovered vulnerabilities in three dimensions, i.e., authentication, security association and service availability, and verify these vulnerabilities in operational LTE networks. In order to assess practical impact from these security threats, we convert these threats into active attacks, where an adversary can (a) kick the victim device out of the network, (b) hijack the victim’s location, and (c) silently drain the victim’s battery power. Moreover, we have shown that the attacker does not need to communicate with the victim device or reside at the device to launch these attacks (i.e., no Trojan or malware is required). We further propose remedies for the identified attacks.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationSecurity and Privacy in Communication Networks - 13th International Conference, SecureComm 2017, Proceedings
EditorsAli Ghorbani, Xiaodong Lin, Kui Ren, Sencun Zhu, Aiqing Zhang
PublisherSpringer-Verlag
Pages312-338
Number of pages27
ISBN (Print)9783319788128
DOIs
StatePublished - 2018
Externally publishedYes
Event13th EAI International Conference on Security and Privacy in Communication Networks, SecureComm 2017 - [state] ON, Canada
Duration: Oct 22 2017Oct 25 2017

Publication series

NameLecture Notes of the Institute for Computer Sciences, Social-Informatics and Telecommunications Engineering, LNICST
Volume238
ISSN (Print)1867-8211

Conference

Conference13th EAI International Conference on Security and Privacy in Communication Networks, SecureComm 2017
Country/TerritoryCanada
City[state] ON
Period10/22/1710/25/17

Keywords

  • LTE interaction with 2G/3G networks
  • LTE protocol interactions
  • LTE security

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Networks and Communications

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