Risk
5/21/2009
02:49 PM
50%
50%

Tech Road Map: 3G Security Is Getting Better, But It's Still Incomplete

Safeguarding wireless traffic in transit is only part of the equation. Pay attention to devices and endpoints, too.

With more organizations using mobile broadband networks, IT managers should be very concerned about security. Safeguarding data as it travels the airwaves may be only part of a mobile security policy -- enterprises must secure their devices and the data they store -- but the airwaves are a good place to start.

The good news about wireless security is that today's mobile broadband networks have some enhanced security functions built in. The latest 3G technologies, including WiMax, have robust encryption options. AT&T and T-Mobile provide High Speed Packet Access with a 128-bit Kasumi encryption algorithm. CDMA2000, offered by Sprint and Verizon, sports 128-bit Advanced Encryption Standard encryption. WiMax also uses AES.

InformationWeek Reports

Encryption Not Guaranteed
The bad news is that there are major shortfalls with AES. One is that AES activation is largely optional on the part of operators. AT&T says its Kasumi encryption is always on, but Verizon wouldn't say whether that's the case for its encryption option. Moreover, even if your operator uses encryption, your users may roam onto a network that doesn't. And a 2G connection has much less robust encryption mechanisms than 3G, which are considered easy to defeat.

Finally, channel encryption only extends to an intermediate point within the cellular network. After that, data travels unencrypted until it reaches the far end of a connection, where most communication is again locked down.

DIG DEEPER
Go Mobile
Figuring out 3G/4G mobile broadband is worth the effort.
Some operators offer network VPNs or private circuits, e.g., frame relay, for the unencrypted portion of your data's journey, so there are some options on the back end if you have a lot of data business with an operator. But these options can be complicated. Even if your radio link is reasonably secure, there's the problem of users connecting via other access networks, such as unprotected Wi-Fi hotspots. Wi-Fi capability is the norm for laptops and increasingly is available on smartphones.

Previous
1 of 3
Next
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Cartoon
Current Issue
Dark Reading Tech Digest, Dec. 19, 2014
Software-defined networking can be a net plus for security. The key: Work with the network team to implement gradually, test as you go, and take the opportunity to overhaul your security strategy.
Flash Poll
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2015-2086
Published: 2015-02-26
Cross-site scripting (XSS) vulnerability in the live preview in the Panopoly Magic module before 7.x-1.17 for Drupal allows remote authenticated users to inject arbitrary web script or HTML via a pane title.

CVE-2015-2087
Published: 2015-02-26
Unrestricted file upload vulnerability in the Avatar Uploader module before 6.x-1.3 for Drupal allows remote authenticated users to execute arbitrary PHP code by uploading a file with a PHP extension, then accessing it via unspecified vectors.

CVE-2015-2088
Published: 2015-02-26
Cross-site scripting (XSS) vulnerability in unspecified administration pages in the Term Queue module before 6.x-1.1 for Drupal allows remote attackers to inject arbitrary web script or HTML via unknown vectors.

CVE-2015-2089
Published: 2015-02-26
Multiple cross-site request forgery (CSRF) vulnerabilities in the CrossSlide jQuery (crossslide-jquery-plugin-for-wordpress) plugin 2.0.5 for WordPress allow remote attackers to hijack the authentication of administrators for requests that (1) change plugin settings or conduct cross-site scripting (...

CVE-2015-2090
Published: 2015-02-26
SQL injection vulnerability in the ajax_survey function in settings.php in the WordPress Survey and Poll plugin 1.1.7 for Wordpress allows remote attackers to execute arbitrary SQL commands via the survey_id parameter in an ajax_survey action to wp-admin/admin-ajax.php.

Dark Reading Radio
Archived Dark Reading Radio
How can security professionals better engage with their peers, both in person and online? In this Dark Reading Radio show, we will talk to leaders at some of the security industry’s professional organizations about how security pros can get more involved – with their colleagues in the same industry, with their peers in other industries, and with the IT security community as a whole.