MOSCOW, 15 Oct – PRIME. Almost every smartphone owner may face surveillance – this device allows interested parties not only to listen to your conversations, but also to steal personal data, confidential information, money. There are several ways to do this, Shamil Magomedov, head of the Department of Intelligent Information Security Systems at the Institute of Cybersecurity and Digital Technologies of the RTU MIREA, tells the Prime agency.
The first and most obvious way is “official” wiretapping. “Law enforcement agencies, by court decision, can wiretap conversations using the SORM system (System of technical means for providing the functions of operational-search activities). By law, every telecom operator in Russia is obliged to install this system on their PBXs,” the expert assures.
The illegal use of SORM is not excluded. We are talking about intruders who, having sufficient technical knowledge and capabilities, can illegally connect to the system and listen in on telephone conversations. “Unfortunately, often neither the telecom operator himself, nor the object of attention of criminals, often finds out about such facts,” says Magomedov. But in case of detection, violators will have to pay a fine.
In the case when the criminal knows the phone number of his victim, he can connect to the network of the cellular network operator through vulnerabilities in the SS7 (Signaling System No. 7) signaling protocol. “To put it simply, the attacker, with the help of several actions, turns any telephone conversation into a conference call with the participation of a third party, that is, himself. And thus he can hear and record everything that is discussed during the conversation. You can connect to SS7 from any points of the world, that is, Russians can be listened to by hackers from any country,” the expert warns.
The above methods require quite serious equipment, knowledge and, most importantly, motivation on the part of the listener. That is, such actions are unlikely to be applied to the average citizen who does not have important commercial or state secrets or large sums in bank accounts. Usually for “household” wiretapping, simpler mechanisms are used, for example, spyware.
If you have suspicions that you are being tapped, the expert advises to carefully study the active applications in the gadget. If you find suspicious ones, delete them immediately. Also, don’t forget to use anti-virus programs and follow the rules of digital hygiene.