Posts tagged GSM
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TechFaith Ships 15000 GPRS/EDGE GSM Mobile Units to Mexico’s Largest Manufacturer
By Carolyn J Dawson, TMCnet Contributor
Following the shipment of fifty thousand GPRS/EDGE GSM mobile phone to one of Mexico’s largest consumer electronics manufacturer since 2010 Q4, China’s TechFaith Wireless Technology Limited is shipping additional 15,000 units to the same customer in the second quarter of 2011. The shipped mobile phones are customized to be used on Telcel (News – Alert), one of Mexico’s largest operator networks.
As a high-end, full function multimedia phone, TechFaith’s GPRS/EDGE GSM mobile phone features a 3.0 inch LCD touchscreen with built in motion sensor and games. With support for high quality MPEG4 video, the phone provides rich MP3 sound with extensive privacy and security options.
In a release, Deyou Dong, president and COO of TechFaith (News – Alert) said, “This is another success story in the expansion of TechFaith’s business worldwide. Our strong capabilities at tailoring mobile phones to local markets and to carrier’s specific needs has helped TechFaith win new customers and grow our business with them. In this latest case, we have a proven local partner on the ground, in a key growth market for TechFaith.”
Having the capability to deliver Middleware Application MM/UI software packages, TechFaith is able to satisfy the complete specification of handset brand owners and carriers in the global market. Technologies supported include 2G/2.5G (GSM/GPRS, CDMA1X), 3G (EV-DO, WCDMA/UMTS, TD-SCDMA) and 3.5G (HSDPA) communication. Under its wholly-owned subsidiary brand name QIGI for Smartphone business targeting enterprise users and operator tailored market and under Glomate brand, TechFaith plans to become the branded mobile phone specialist for China market.
In a related story, TechFaith Wireless Technology Limited, a China-based company focused on opportunities in mobile phones, PC and online gaming markets, has partnered with Beijing E-town International Investment and Development Co Ltd, a PRC stated-owned investment and financing company headquartered in the Beijing Economic and Technological Development Area, for the development of a 10 million-unit capacity smartphone production line in Beijing. TechFaith officials said they expect complete construction and full ramp-up of the production facility in the next five years.
Carolyn John is a Contributor to TMCnet. To read more of her articles, please columnist page.
Edited by Jennifer Russell
Black Hat: How iPhone, Android, Other GSM Phones Are Vulnerable To Attack
- By William Jackson
A demonstration of an attack against an Apple iPhone at the Black Hat Technical Security DC 2011 Conference in Arlington, Va., demonstrated that software in many GSM-based smart phones contains vulnerabilities that could open the phones to remote exploits.
GSM is the Global System for Mobile Communications standard that many popular smart phones use, including the iPhone and phones using the Android operating system.
Ralf-Philipp Weinmann, a researcher at the University of Luxembourg who has spent several years reverse-engineering GSM code in search of vulnerabilities, demonstrated results of his work in progress Wednesday, launching an exploit of an overflow vulnerability against his own iPhone 4.
Weinmann connected to the phone using a phony base station and caused it to crash. An attempt to activate the auto answer feature of the phone failed. Weinmann said that because of the nature of the vulnerability, there is a 50 percent chance of success with each attempt.
But “vulnerabilities in the GSM code base are plentiful and shallow,” he said, meaning that they are easy to access. Many can be exploited using open-source code and $1,500 worth of hardware.
“Phones have been an interesting target for a while,” he said, and smart phones are becoming more interesting as they contain larger amounts of information and have access to more network resources.
For several years now, experts have predicted that cell phones and other mobile computing devices would become the next frontier of hacking, but wide-scale threats have failed to appear so far. That could change as the phones become more powerful and common and as their user profile changes.
“You want to target phones used not only by the teenage crowd but by corporate executives as well,” Weinmann said.
For his attack, Weinmann used the GSM signaling connection to deliver commands over the air interface. The GSM codebase for most baseband stacks date to the 1990s and contain little protection against modern threats. Although Weinmann spent several years finding vulnerabilities, he said that with better tools the process now could be shortened to months. He has shared some of his work with vendors, who have begun patching software. But many phones still remain vulnerable.
For his attack, Weinmann created a small cellular base station using OpenBTS, a software-based GSM access point, or base transceiver station. In an actual attack, the base station would mimic the target’s commercial carrier network. Although Weinmann did not impersonate a carrier in his demonstration, he still found that a number of audience members’ phones were connecting to his base station because there was no other cellular access available in the room.
A malicious base station could have a range of a mile or more if it has a good antenna. Although it depends on the target phone, the attack can be done quickly after the base station establishes a connection. “To pull it off, you just need a small time frame, like 30 seconds,” he said.
In its current state, the exploit is unreliable. But it theoretically could be used to remotely turn a phone into a bugging device that could record audio and upload files via a data connection.
Because there is no central infrastructure for such an attack, cell carriers can do little to protect users, and users can’t do much if their phone is using software with vulnerabilities, Weinmann said.
“I can’t do anything defensive against this except not use the phone,” he said.
Don’t bother with a lengthy ring-round of your friends to wish them a happy new year. Just leave one of them a message on their mobile and wait for everyone else to hack into it.
A little premature, you might think. And you’d be right. But a pair of security researchers have told a Berlin conference how they were able to eavesdrop on mobile phone calls and texts made on any GSM network – used by around 80% of the world’s phones – using four cheap phones, a laptop and some open source software.
Karsten Nohl and Sylvain Munaut spent a year perfecting their eavesdropping technology, which begins by sending a “ghost” text message to a target phone that does not show up on the handset but enables the hacker to seize its unique identification number.
The pair, who gave a live demonstration to the Chaos Computer Club Congress in Berlin this week, said the whole process takes about 20 seconds, enabling phone conversations and SMS messages to be recorded and decrypted.
“Any GSM call is fair game,” Nohl told the BBC. “”Now there’s a path from your telephone number to me finding you and listening to your calls. The whole way.”
Nohl said commercially available equipment capable of eavesdropping on other people’s phone calls and text messages would previously have cost more than £35,000. He said the four Motorola phones used in their demonstration cost £9 each.
He told the conference that while computing power had continued to evolve, GSM phone software had become out of date.
“This is all a 20-year-old infrastructure, with lots of private data and not a lot of security,” Nohl said. “We want you to help phones go through the same kind of evolutionary steps that computers did in the 1990s.”
Nohl said there were no plans to make the eavesdropping kit available for others to use, but suggested it would not be difficult for a keen amateur to follow their lead. “I expect people to do it for the fun of doing it,” he added.
Hackers have broken into the mobile phone GSM network and can now eavesdrop on your calls using dirt cheap handsets, according to security researchers at the Chaos Computer Club Congress.
Two researchers, Karsten Nohl and Sylvain Munaut, showed off a toolkit they developed over the last year for getting access to other people’s calls.
They were able to demonstrate how they could locate and seize a uniquely identified phone, along with intercepting call and text data sent from the phone to the base station.
A vital part of the process is using cheap Motorola phones, costing only €10 ($13) which can have their firmware replaced by an unfiltered open source alternative, the duo told the BBC. This new firmware allows the user to see all of the data being broadcast from a base station.
The ability to make this attack requires intimate knowledge of the technology and software involved, preventing an Average Joe from spying on his neighbours, but there are some concerns raised about the ability to target a unique phone, which could lead to eavesdropping on high-profile targets, such as politicians and celebrities.
The toolkit will not be released to the public, but it’s likely that hackers will figure out the missing pieces of the puzzles for themselves. Mobile operators were prompted to improve their security to combat the gaping hole in their networks.
With an estimated five billion GSM mobile phones in the world, that’s a lot of phone calls that are now at risk. If only Coulson had known.
According to a report by ICICIdirect.com Research, GSM mobile phone subscribers grew unabated in August, boosted by the launch of GSM services by various players in markets they were not present in earlier. August recorded the highest growth in new GSM mobile services subscribers after April, at 135 lakh.
The highest growth was seen in C circles, which added 20 lakh subscribers, after acquiring only nine lakh new subscribers in July. In contrast, net additions declined in metros. While the metros recorded a monthly growth of 2.3 per cent, A and B circles grew by 3.1 per cent, and C circles grew by 3.2 per cent in August.
Interestingly, Bharti Airtel saw a slowing down in its growth rate. It added 20 lakh subscribers, the lowest in several quarters, the report said. Its past seven months’ growth had averaged at 29 lakh subscribers, and the August decline was over the second month in a row. Bharti Airtel’s subscriber base is 1,413 lakh, which gives it a market share of 30.4 per cent among GSM service players.
Newcomer Uninor recorded its highest ever net subscriber addition of 22 lakh. It got its maximum new subscribers from Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh and Bihar.
BSNL turned in an even more impressive 23 lakh subscribers added on in August, with Haryana, Rajasthan and Orissa giving it its maximum new subscribers. This number was impressive considering that BSNL’s average monthly growth over the previous four months was 11 lakh.
Idea, Vodafone and Aircel maintained the same monthly growth rate as recorded in recent months. They added 20 lakh, 23 lakh and 16 lakh subscribers in August respectively. Aircel, which launched in three new states in August, including Punjab, picked up an impressive 96,248 new subscribers in Punjab itself.
Videocon, which launched its services in eight new states, added 9 lakh subscribers to its 28 lakh in July.
Mobile phones today, run on one of two major telecom standards: GSM and CDMA. While choosing a carrier, you have to know whether you are going for CDMA or GSM, because each has its own unique features, advantages and drawbacks. A random decision may adversely affect your user experience.
So, let’s try to find out which among GSM and CDMA is the best choice.
CDMA or Code Division Multiple Access is the dominant network standard in the US since it was developed by Qualcomm. GSM or Global System for Mobile was developed way back in 1987 by the GSM Association and has greater international acceptance than CDMA.
CDMA Vs. GSM Phones
In terms of coverage comparison, CDMA is easily outdone by GSM. CDMA is currently supported in the US and parts of Asia while GSM is available almost all throughout the world. However, in smaller cities, towns and rural areas in the US, CDMA networks are stronger.
With a quad band mobile phone (850-1900 MHz) you can travel almost anywhere in the world and yet be connected via GSM. With CDMA that is not the case and so if you travel a lot, internationally, there is no doubt that you should get a CDMA phone.
As far as data access is concerned, CDMA scores with technologies likes EVDO making data transfer at speeds up to 2mbps a possibility. GSM used EDGE as a dedicated data transfer technology till very recently, but now HSDPA is in the horizon which should match up to EVDO.
The standard procedure followed by CDMA carriers is to program the user account information in the phone itself. So, a change of phone has to be done via the carrier, which will reprogram the same information in the new phone. GSM carriers provide removable SIM cards which can be shifted between phones, so you are more in control of how you use your number. However, a new removable User Identity Module cards are now available on some CDMA phones.
CDMA phones are generally known to consume more battery than GSM phones because their operations are more complex.
So, your choice of opting for CDMA or GSM cell phones should ultimately be decided by what you need. Simply put, unless you are a frequent flier, CDMA is as good as GSM as an option. The best Verizon Wireless phones such as the Motorola Droid X and the BlackBerry bold are CDMA devices, while AT&T offers amazing GSM phones such as the iPhone and the Samsung Captivate. So, take your pick!
Windows Phone 7 Surprise — Only GSM at Launch
As Microsoft preps and primps for the rollout of Windows Phone 7, it’s beginning to look as if the launch gala may not be well attended by U.S. wireless operators.
That’s because, among the big U.S. operators, only AT&T and T-Mobile will be shipping phones that use Microsoft’s (NASDAQ: MSFT) new mobile phone software when it’s released.
Microsoft officials said they opted to partner with AT&T (the No. 2 U.S. carrier) and Deutsche Telekom-owned T-Mobile (in fourth place domestically) only instead of also striking deals with Verizon Wireless and Sprint (in first and third places, respectively) because they needed to make a choice: To meet its promised delivery in time for 2010 holiday sales, Microsoft had to choose only one of two major wireless network technologies to focus on.
That turned out to be Global System for Mobile Communication (GSM), which is the technology in use by T-Mobile and AT&T (NYSE: T).
However, Microsoft said its partners will deliver handsets that support the other main network technology — Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) — which is used by Verizon and Sprint, next year.
“In developing WP7, we are placing high-quality customer experiences above all else,” a Microsoft spokesperson told InternetNews.com in an email. “In keeping with this goal, Microsoft chose to focus on delivering a great GSM version to the world first, and then a great CDMA version in the first half of 2011.” Windows Phone 7 is rumored to arrive on Oct. 11. Company spokespersons won’t confirm the date, or whether, as the rumors say, the launch gala will held at a site in New York and be broadcast globally. So far, Microsoft has only announced that Windows Phone 7 had been “released to manufacturing,” or RTM, in early September.
According to one analyst, Microsoft is just being pragmatic regarding its carrier selection.
“Outside of North America, 90 percent of the market is GSM, including Europe, but CDMA is still more than 50 percent of the U.S. market,” Jack Gold, principal analyst at J. Gold Associates, told InternetNews.com.
However, not having support for both technologies out of the chute cuts down on the number of potential customers.
“They’re handicapping themselves,” Gold said.
For instance, AT&T is still coping with critics — such as Apple iPhone owners — unhappy with wireless speeds or service availability, and many customers of Verizon or Sprint may not want to switch operators to get the phone.
Still, he’s not writing Microsoft off. “I think it’s more important to get something out that’s good, something that gets to market quickly, and something that appeals to end users,” Gold added.
Stuart J. Johnston is a contributing writer at InternetNews.com, the news service of Internet.com, the network for technology professionals. Follow him on Twitter @stuartj1000.
TAGS: wireless, Verizon, Microsoft, mobile, Windows Phone 7
Computerworld – Windows Phone 7 devices coming this fall will initially work with GSM carriers such as AT&T and T-Mobile, but will not include carriers of CDMA technology, which include Verizon Wireless and Sprint Nextel.
“Microsoft chose to focus on delivering a great GSM version to the world first, and then a great CDMA version in the first half of 2011,” a Microsoft spokesman said Friday via e-mail.
Microsoft is “placing high-quality customer experiences above all else,” he added.
GSM is widely used throughout the world, although in the U.S., CDMA represents about half the nation’s wireless customers.
Finland-based Nokia, the largest maker of mobile phones globally, announced a push into the U.S. market earlier this week, and also said that it will not focus on further CDMA phones for the U.S., preferring GSM technology and development for 4G phones running LTE, a faster wireless standard.
The first phones running Windows Phone 7 are expected to go on sale next month, according to various reports. An Oct. 11 launch date has also been reported.
Windows Phone 7 is Microsoft’s attempt to recapture smartphone and mobile phone sales, especially to consumers, after several quarters of disappointing sales with its older brand, Windows Mobile. The OS maker is expected to take a 4.7% share of the smartphone market for 2010 and 3.9% by 2014, according to a recent Gartner forecast.
Matt Hamblen covers mobile and wireless, smartphones and other handhelds, and wireless networking for Computerworld. Follow Matt on Twitter at @matthamblen or subscribe to Matt’s RSS feed. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Read more about Mobile OSes in Computerworld’s Mobile OSes Topic Center.
There are ways to get around GSM encryption, but the equipment has been expensive and difficult to get. It appears that is no longer the case.
It’s that time of year. Defcon and Black Hat conventions are happening. Invited presenters are spilling the beans about security issues they have uncovered. One of the more controversial presentations explains how to affordably side step GSM encryption. That’s a big deal since billions of people are still using GSM phones.
GSM encryption can be circumvented due to the trusting nature of the protocol. Fortunately, the following two factors have kept it safe:
The cost of equipment required to circumvent GSM encryption is astronomical. Not just anyone can buy the equipment. You have to work for one of those three-letter organizations or have a badge. Enter Chris Paget
It had to happen; cost is no longer an issue. Chris Paget is saying it’s possible to intercept GSM phone calls on the cheap. That type of bravado created the drama Defcon is known for. So much so, that Mr. Paget wasn’t sure he was going to give his talk.
A credible source indicated to Mr. Paget that AT&T (only AT&T and T-Mobile have GSM networks) might be considering a lawsuit. On top of that, the FCC let it be known they were concerned about unlawful interception of phone calls. After conferring with EFF lawyers, Mr. Paget went ahead with the presentation and live demonstration. Mr. Paget mentions his appreciation for their help in one of his blogs:
“I’d like to say a really big thank you to the EFF; without their assistance the talk would not have gone ahead (the demo certainly wouldn’t have).”
Mr. Paget uses what many consider a flaw in the GSM protocol. That being there is no mutual-authentication exchange between mobile phones and the network. Only the phone authenticates. It sends a unique International Mobile Subscriber Identity (IMSI) stored on the SIM to the cell tower it’s trying to associate with.
It would appear that this weakness opens the door for Man-in-the-Middle (MitM) attacks. Yet, some argue that’s not possible. The traffic is encrypted. Well, maybe not. The GSM protocol gives network controllers (cell towers) the option to force connected mobile phones to turn off encryption.
What that means
Like any MitM attack, the idea is to create a situation where a piece of hardware is able to interact with GSM mobile phones in the same manner as the telco provider’s cell tower. Hardware devices capable of this are fittingly called IMSI-catchers.
Any number of things can happen after the IMSI-catcher is in control. Sensitive information such as IMSI, IMEI, and phone numbers can be captured. It’s also possible to record the audio portion of each call.
Some friends of mine stressed that this is not new technology. Several companies sell IMSI-catchers, NeoSoft being one example. The catch is that the equipment is usually only sold to governmental agencies and law enforcement groups. Besides they are hugely expensive.
Therein lies the real significance of what Mr. Paget accomplished. He made an IMSI-catcher for around $1500 US. That includes the transceiver, two directional antennas, a notebook, OpenBTS a software-GSM access point, and Asterisk — software that acts as a gateway between GSM networks and VoIP networks. The following slide gives you an idea of the setup (courtesy of Dave Bullock and Wired):
Indications of an attack
There aren’t strong indicators that a MitM attack is taking place. Mr. Paget did mention we need to be alert for the following oddities when making a phone call:
The phone is on a GSM network in a known 3G coverage area and the phone is 3G capable. The receiving party is seeing an unusual phone number on caller-ID. Paget’s IMSI-catcher only captures outbound calls. Incoming calls go directly to voice mail.
Mr. Paget during his talk admitted the software could easily be upgraded to forward the caller’s real phone number.
There is some recourse for people using AT&T and T-Mobile phones. Mr. Paget mentioned that BlackBerry phones from RIM may add a second layer of encryption and have a setting to disable GSM. Another possibility is AT&T’s new encryption service. For the rest of us, it seems we need to make sure to use 3G whenever possible.
Fortunately, this attack only works if your mobile phone is using a GSM network. CDMA and 3G networks are safe for now. The real concern is that this attack vector is no longer out of reach due to cost. Making it one more thing security-conscious people need to be aware of.
2010-07-26 07:11:27 – Except for making a call and sending a message, what else the mobile phone can do? It is a new technology for mobile to be GPS GSM tracking…
Except for making a call and sending a message, what other functions do mobile phones have? Someone uses it to be chatting online, someone uses it to send the email, and someone uses it to navigate. Now American scientists are making a new research, making a mobile phone to be GPS GSM tracking for us.
The first: pay close attention to protect the environment. Some researchers from university of California are using mobile phone to make the function for GPS, camera and others, reaching the different aims by installing the different software. So they called this kind of mobile phone sharing sensor. The personal environment report is the main point for the sharing sensor. When using this software, the mobile phone can collect all the activities for the daily life by the GPS function and then transfer the data to the server, next, the software will give a whole analysis to it to tell the users what they are doing can give them what affection to their environment. In addition, it can give some advice such as how to be car sharing with others and how to use the public transit tools.
The second: pay close attention to health. Sharing sensor can remind the user of being far away from the pollution source. The system will tell the users they may get some pollution according to the current traffic and the weather and so on. The traffic and weather data are from the current data base and not from the mobile phone survey as we can buy a real detector which is very expensive. Sharing sensor can help the users to check the exercising habit and health status, reminding you of taking the pills on time and how about the side effect for it. It is very important for the users who have diabetes mellitus or high blood pressure and so on. For example, if you fall down, you will know at once. But for one year, you reduce your activities, I am sure you do not realize it. But it will down your health.
The third: during the research. Sharing sensor can collect the scientific knowledge data. The researchers are planning to make the users to get the invading living things, and then send these pictures to the related institutes. If so, it is very convenient for the biologist to draw the invading living things allocation plan and find out the way to solve this problem. At the present, sharing sensor is during the research and some of the programmes are doing the experiment in America. The researchers said: nearly more than half of the people are using the mobile phone. Some of them are using the camera on it to collect the data, it confirms the possibilities of the coming up of the sharing sensor. The concept of sharing sensor makes wide use of the promoted and invented technology. It is the basic set for the sharing sensor as it is using the current existing conditions. We are happy to wait for the new technology for mobile phone to be GPS GSM tracking for us.
GPS GSM tracking: www.chinazrh.com/wholesale-gps-devices-gpsgsm-personal-tracker-c ..