What would you do if someone told you your mobile device is subject to security breaches, having your calls monitored or that your location could easily be tracked by someone you do not know? Just when you think we've made some headway past those trolling computer hackers, SS7 is leaving room for them to invade the privacy of mobile devices. Just what is SS7? It's an international telecommunications standard, known as Signalling System No. 7, which allows phone networks to exchange information required for making calls or text messaging. It also gives mobile users the ability to roam.
Consumers have accelerated their use of mobile devices significantly over that of desktops. Such online activities by users include accessing information on travel and health, searching career resources, conducting banking transactions, shopping, making reservations or purchasing event tickets. So often, mobile users do not equate their Smartphone and wireless devices in the same technological light as they do their desktop computer. Transactions conducted through mobile devices can be hacked just as easily as desktop or laptop computers. Mobile (m-commerce) continues to surface as the leading buying platform, and e-tailers and retailers are making it easier for users to have an excellent and easy shopping experience. However, this is also leaving mobile consumers open for hacking.
The security vulnerability of the SS7 throughout the worldwide mobile phone infrastructure means that hackers can track mobile users, read texts and emails, and listen to wireless calls. Wi-Fi has also provided a loophole where hackers are able to create a ghost network that looks legitimate, but is actually designed to snoop on your privacy and steal your personal information. Hackers are able to mimic users and intercept messages. No mobile network or mobile device is immune to such invasive practices.
In the report, 2016 US Cross- Platform Future in Focus from comScore.com, total digital media usage has nearly tripled since 2010. Since 2013 it's up 35%, with Smartphones having grown 78% and contributing to 92% of the total increase in time spent.
While we've seen a significant increase in telecommunications conducted through mobile phones or computer tablets, users must proceed with caution regarding the protection of their sensitive information. Be mindful of unfamiliar apps that claim to protect against viruses or malware through encryption. There are reports that some apps appear to provide an added sense of security, but could easily provide a gateway for hackers to enter and abuse your sensitive information. Many warnings have been issued regarding this vulnerability threat, yet many mobile users fail to heed those warnings.
Mobile usage continues to grow each year and it does not look like it is slowing down anytime soon. Although this is great news for businesses reaching new and existing online consumers, in light of the SS7 vulnerability concerns it is imperative that users proceed with caution regarding the transmission of their sensitive information.