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Tackling new threats from LTE

Zafar Anjum | Sept. 25, 2012
What are the dangers and security challenges of LTE and how should operators deal with them? Simeon Coney, vice president of Business Development at Adaptive Mobile provides some answers.

What are the dangers and security challenges of LTE and how should operators deal with them? Simeon Coney, vice president of Business Development at Adaptive Mobile provides some answers.

Now that the LTE networks are growing in the region, what are the new security challenges for the operators?

One of the main challenges with LTE is that it increases the data capacity of the network. The consequential challenge arises because there is much more information flowing through the network that needs to be protected.

With LTE, old models of security which revolved around careful inspection of every single data packet in the network is no longer applicable. This is due to the fact that there is a significantly large amount of data flowing through the network.

Increasingly there is a need to take a step back and perform more analytical or behavioural analysis of the traffic and then based upon this offline understanding, take control and identify the threats.

The architecture of LTE itself includes a number of new functions which require specific considerations. There is a need to provide better encryption and security from an infrastructure perspective, invisible to the users, but operators must ensure that these are in place.

The other challenge is that operators have moved from a closed eco-system where every device was controlled or corporate approved to a BYOD environment. Operators have to ensure the integrity of the information contained and the transactions taking place on these devices.

We have seen mobile threats in the last few years. Will LTE threats be even more dangerous and pervasive?

We see that with LTE further promotes the concept of OTT applications which increases the risk that subscribers will download data that is malicious. These applications could either share subscriber information without approval or come in the form of applications that steal credit or other information.

LTE also introduces new charging mechanisms that will also be subject to the same fraud attempts and abuse profile on Premium SMS and Interconnect charging that operators defend or remediate.

There are elements of the LTE infrastructure that require more protection. The fact is that there is an increasing the amount of traffic flowing into the device which undoubtedly raises the risk of exposure to threats. In short, LTE does require operators to think about security and its implications.

How can the operators tackle the new, emerging threats? What solutions are available to them?

With the rapid development of new mobile devices and our ever increasing reliance on these and other mobile services (SMS, MMS, E-mail, Voice and Web) the threat of mobile abuse and mobile fraud grows daily. Operators can consider looking at services designed to block mobile scams such as SMS fraud and SMS spam.

 

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