GSM Security

The Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) is easily the most commonly employed cellular technology across the globe. GSM is employed for various purposes, but largely for voice communication and SMS. Security is vital for Global System for Mobile Communications GSM. The security includes mechanisms employed to safeguard the various shareholders, for example service providers & subscribers. The areas of security which this project discusses are primarily anonymity, authentication and confidentiality. The crucial elements of the system which require security are explained, in addition to the implementation of mechanisms employed for the safety. It seems that valuable areas of GSM could be assaulted. The anonymity of a GSM user is sacrificed allowing the attacker to view the time, rate, length, sources or destinations of calls. Even monitoring a subscriber’s movements becomes feasible. Nevertheless, a passive attack just isn’t adequate to execute these attacks. The attacker is required to mount an active attack making use of equipment giving base station features. Authentication is an important facet of a wireless communication system because of the nature of the medium employed, i.e. the radio link that is accessible to each and every one instead of only the genuine entities. Also the authentication systems are attacked. It is possible to clone a subscription either with physical access to the smart card or over the air interface. Cloning a subscription over the air needs base station functionality. The biggest threat for communication systems is eavesdropping on conversations. The privacy of Global System for Mobile Communications GSM conversations is guarded utilizing some version of the A5 algorithm. There are numerous remarkable cryptanalytical attacks against these algorithms, which break the encryption making it easy to eavesdrop in real-time. The majority of these algorithms demand intensive computation power and impractical amount of known plaintext, that make it challenging to utilize them in reality.

Video: How Global System for Mobile Communications GSM works?


1 Introduction
1.1 Background
1.2 Purpose
1.3 Reading Instructions
2 Security Requirements of Wireless Networks
2.1 Requirements for End-User Privacy
2.1.1 Protection of Call-Setup Information
2.1.2 Protection of Speech
2.1.3 Privacy of User-Location
2.1.4 Privacy of Calling Patterns
2.1.5 Privacy of User-ID
2.2 Integrity Protection of Data
2.3 Requirements for Preventing Theft of Service or Equipment
2.3.1 Cloning and Clone Resistant Design
2.3.2 Equipment Identifiers
3 Security Attacks and the Use of Cryptography for Protection
3.1 Security Attacks
3.2 Cryptographic Protection Methods
3.2.1 Secret Key Cryptography
3.2.2 Public Key Cryptography
3.2.3 Hash Algorithms/Functions
3.3 Attacking the Cryptographic Protection Part
4 Layers, Channels and Signalling Principles in the Global System for Mobile Communications GSM System
4.1 The Layers of GSM
4.2 The Physical Layer – Layer
4.2.1 Frequency-Division Multiple Access and Time-Division Multiple Access
4.2.2 The Radio Channel
4.2.3 The Frequencies
4.2.4 Transmission on the Radio Channels
4.2.5 Logical Channels
4.2.6 Frame Structures
4.2.7 Examples of How a Mobile Station Behaves
4.2.8 From analog to digital
4.2.9 Frequency Hopping
4.3 The Data Link Layer – Layer 2
4.4 The Network Layer – Layer 3
4.4.1 Sublayers of Layer 3
4.4.2 Structure of a Layer 3 Message
4.4.3 A Layer 3 Signalling Trace
5 GSM Architecture and Security
5.1 An Overview of the Global System for Mobile Communications GSM Network
5.1.1 The Mobile Station (MS)
5.1.2 The Base Transceiver Station (BTS)
5.1.3 The Base Station Controller (BSC)
5.1.4 Mobile Services Switching Center (MSC)
5.1.5 Home Location Register (HLR)
5.1.6 Authentication Center (AuC)
5.1.7 Visitor Location Register (VLR)
5.1.8 Equipment Identity Register (EIR)
5.2 The Security Implementation – Protecting Valuable Assets
5.2.1 Anonymity
5.2.2 Authentication
5.2.3 Confidentiality
5.2.4 Preventing Theft of Service or Equipment
6 Attacks on GSM
6.1 Capturing One or Several Mobile Stations
6.2 Attacks on the Anonymity of GSM Users
6.2.1 Passive Monitoring
6.2.2 Active Monitoring
6.3 Attacks on the Authentication Algorithm
6.3.1 Cloning with Physical Access to the SIM Module
6.3.2 Cloning over the Air
6.4 Attacks on the Confidentiality of GSM
6.4.1 Brute-Force Attacks
6.4.2 Cryptanalytical Attacks against GS
6.4.3 Attacks Using Loopholes in the Protocols
6.5 Attacks on the Equipment Protection Mechanism
6.6 Denial of Service (DoS) Attacks
6.6.1 Denial of Service – Physical Intervention
6.6.2 Denial of Service – Logical Intervention
7 Evaluation of the Suitability of Global System for Mobile Communications GSM for Special Users
7.1 Security Threats
7.1.1 Unauthorised Access to Data
7.1.2 Unauthorised Manipulation of Sensitive Data
7.1.3 Denial of Service Attacks……

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Source: Linköping University

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