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A Comprehensive Guide on Silent SMS Denial of Service (DoS) Attack

a comprehensive guide on silent sms denial of service dos attack
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When delivered to a mobile handset, silent messages, also known as Silent SMS or Stealth SMS “stealth ping”, or “Short Message Type 0”, are not indicated on the display or by an acoustic alert signal. This guide will concentrate on the technicalities of sending a silent SMS, as well as sending multiple incessant silent SMSs to perform a silent SMS denial of service (DoS) attack. These silent messages are increasingly being sent not only to perform DoS attacks but also to force the constant update of users’ or victims’ location (tracking) information.

What is Silent SMS or Flash SMS?

Silent SMS was originally intended to allow operators to detect whether a mobile phone was turned on and test the network without informing the user. They have, however, proven useful in the tracking down of suspects by police in a number of countries.

Using the GSM Network, silent SMS can pinpoint the exact location of a mobile phone. We can find a user by identifying the three antennas closest to him and then triangulating the distance based on the time it takes for a signal to return. When a person moves, their phone’s location is updated; however, the information is not updated immediately. The location of the mobile is instantly updated when a Silent SMS is sent. This is extremely useful because it allows you to locate someone at a specific time based on the airwaves.

ICYMI – In cellular communication networks, the SS7 (Signaling System No. 7) protocols are critical. Unfortunately, SS7 has a number of flaws that a malicious actor can exploit to launch attacks. Location tracking, SMS interception, and other types of signaling attacks are significant examples of these.

[TIP: EFANI’s Black Seal Protection against such hacks such as SS7, location tracking, DDoS, Silent SMS, IMSI Catchers and so on]

A Silent SMS DoS Attack
Source: Croft, N. J., & Olivier, M. S. (2007). A silent SMS denial of service (DoS) attack

The Silent SMS Denial of Service (DoS) attack is one of the more intriguing attacks. A typical DoS attack floods a network with excessive traffic, rendering its computer resources inaccessible to users. The same concept applies to mobile devices. Without the victim’s knowledge, a device can be flooded with silent SMS messages. Texts swamping the victim’s device will utilize the battery abnormally while preventing the device from receiving calls.

Targets Location Tracking

Malefactors who exploit SS7 protocol vulnerabilities frequently target location information and tracking. A silent SMS could be sent to the target mobile device to force it to update the existing (normally the closest) serving base station onto the mobile network in order to identify the target’s location.

The device user will not be notified if a message is received, as in a Silent SMS DoS attack. However, unlike a DoS attack, there are no visible signs that an attack is taking place. As a result, the victim is completely unaware that they are being followed.

SIM cards are also a major target because they use Wireless Internet Browsers (WIB), that are not adequately secured. Telecommunications companies use Over the Air (OTA) technology to communicate with WIBs in order to manage SIM cards.

Evil people can essentially send a silent SMS containing WIB instructions. The instructions are executed once they have been received on the victim’s device. At this point, the malefactor has several options, including obtaining location data, initiating a call, sending an SMS, or even launching a web browser with a particular URL.

The Culprit: Who is behind the Silent SMS attacks?

Though it has reportedly been used by authorities and governments in the past, the decreasing costs of equipment and broadband access have made this attack vector accessible to malefactors with little technical knowledge.

Why are silent SMS attacks so risky?

Cellular attacks that take advantage of the SS7 protocol are nothing new. However, due to the covert nature of silent SMS attacks, it is difficult to detect them before it is too late. As a result, silent SMS attacks are a compliance nightmare. A breach cannot be detected and, as a result, cannot be reported in accordance with the law. Invisible DoS attacks, OTA malware, and unauthorized location tracking are all dangerous, if not disastrous.

It is incumbent to bring this to readers’ attention that not only SS7 attacks are next to impossible to detect when they take place, but they also leave practically no traces in terms of forensics. The forensic investigator has little to no data to extract and analyze from the victim’s device.

This is, of course, unless the victim has an application on their mobile devices that is specifically supposed to detect and triangulate silent SMS.

The investigator may be able to examine the traffic on the cellular network and possibly detect the unprecedented number of messages sent. Sadly, the investigator must have the victim’s mobile in hand to confirm a real-time attack.

Who is vulnerable to a Silent SMS attack?

It is not critical for most users to have their location tracked or to lose wireless access due to a DoS attack. Attackers are most likely to target executives, VIPs, celebrities, crypto enthusiasts, and governments.

Attacks will almost certainly result in significant financial losses for enterprises, whereas national defense is at stake for governments. They must also consider the possible harm that could be accomplished if an attacker is able to install malware on the device by exploiting WIB vulnerabilities on SIM cards.

The much-needed protection

The one and only effective way to identify and prevent such attack vectors are at the network level (speaking of mobile here). This necessitates the use of EFANI’s Black Seal Protection aimed at “plugging” the security vulnerabilities left by the primitive SS7 protocol, which is still in use presently.

Currently, most of the defense against silent SMS DoS attacks is left to individuals (going through such emotional stress) and cybersecurity professionals in companies, who (unfortunately) have little or no tools to do so. For telecom companies since this pandemic means taking a global approach to SS7 protection. It thus necessitates the implementation of appropriate safeguards and security mechanisms to prevent their networks and registered user devices from such hacks.

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A Silent SMS (DoS) Attack

a silent sms dos attack
silent-sms-attack

Mobile-based attacks are more prevalent unlike many mobile connectivity users believe. There have been 4.83M attacks in 2020, fuelled by the recession-led pandemic and the growing number of interconnected IoT devices. This represents a 15% increase over 2019. And those are just the attacks that have been identified or detected which is alarming.

It takes a lot more than an undetected DoS attack to give me the heebie-jeebies. Anyways, let’s unravel this sophisticated term.

What is a Silent SMS Attack?

When delivered to a mobile handset, silent messages, also known as Silent SMS or Stealth SMS, are not indicated on the display or by a reverberant alert signal. These stealth/silent messages are progressively being sent not only to perform DoS attacks but also to compel the continuous notification of subscriber location information. As a result, anyone with exposure to the network infrastructure can use the technology to effectively track the movements of any mobile network subscriber.

A Stealth SMS allows a sender to send a message to another phone without the owner’s knowledge. The message is erased from the handset. It is not only problematic for privacy but also lawfully, because it is ambiguous by definition whether such messages constitute a communication, given that no content is actually delivered. This is convenient for some because such surveillance technologies are not governed by legal frameworks designed to manage telecom’s inviolability.

The Trouble begins: How it works?

The most concerning forms of cellular-based threats are those which are undetectable even after an attack has been carried out. Silent SMS attacks are one of these threats. Silent SMS (as you know now are also known as “stealth SMS,” “Short Message Type 0” or “stealth ping”) attacks are exactly that – attacks that do not raise any alarms on the target networks or devices.

In cellular communication networks, the SS7 (Signaling System No. 7) protocols are critical. Unfortunately, SS7 has a number of flaws that a malicious actor can exploit to launch attacks. Location tracking, SMS interception, and other types of signaling attacks are examples of these. The Silent SMS Denial of Service (DoS) attack is among the most intriguing attacks.

A typical DoS attack floods a network with excessive traffic, rendering its data resources inaccessible to users. The same concept applies to mobile devices. Without the victim’s knowledge, a device can be flooded with silent SMS messages. Messages flooding the target device will consume the battery abnormally while attempting to prevent the device from receiving calls.

Malefactors who exploit SS7 protocol vulnerabilities frequently target location information and tracking. A silent SMS could be sent to the target mobile device to force it to update the existing (typically the nearest) serving base station onto the mobile network in order to identify its location.

SIM cards are also a major target because they use Wireless Internet Browsers (WIB), which are not always properly secured. Telecommunications companies use Over Air technology to communicate with WIBs in order to manage the SIM cards.

Malefactors can essentially send a silent SMS containing WIB instructions. The instructions are executed once they have been received on the target device. At this point, the malefactor has several options, including obtaining location information, initiating a call, sending an SMS, or even launching an internet browser with a particular URL.

[For your curiosity only] Who’s behind the Silent SMS Attack?

While it has reportedly been used by governments and authorities in the past, the decreasing costs of broadband and equipment access have made this threat approachable to evil-doers with little tech knowledge. The use of Silent SMS by police is increasing.

Why are silent SMS attacks so risky?

Mobile-based attacks that take advantage of the SS7 protocol are nothing new or innovative. Moreover, due to the secretive nature of silent SMS attacks, it is difficult to detect them before it is too late. As a result, silent SMS attacks are a compliance disaster. A breach cannot be detected or acknowledged and, as a result, cannot be disclosed in accordance with the law. Invisible Denial of Service attacks, OTA (Over-the-air) malware, and unauthorized location tracking are all dangerous, if not disastrous.

These SS7 attacks are nearly impossible to identify when they occur, but they also leave practically no traces in terms of forensics. The forensics expert has almost no data to retrieve and analyze from the targeted device. This is, of course, unless such a victim has an app on their device that is particularly programmed to detect and intercept silent SMS. The investigator could be able to examine the traffic on the cellular network and conceivably detect the unprecedented number of messages sent. Sadly, the investigator must have the targets’ device in hand to confirm a real-time attack.

Who is vulnerable to a Silent SMS attack?

It is not critical for most users to have their location tracked or to lose wireless access due to a DoS attack. However, what about triangulating the mission-critical mobile IoT device location (such as automobiles)? Attackers are most likely to target governments and enterprises.

Attacks will almost certainly result in monetary losses for businesses, whereas national defense is at stake for governments. They must also consider the potential danger that could be accomplished if an attacker is able to install malware on the victim’s mobile device by exploiting WIB vulnerabilities on SIM cards.

How can you protect yourself?

The only effective way to detect and prevent such attacks is at the mobile network level. This necessitates the use of MNO tools and techniques aimed at “plugging” the security flaws left by the primitive SS7 protocol, which is still in use today.

Nowadays, much of the defense against silent SMS attacks are left to subscribers and IT administration staff in businesses, who (unfortunately) lack the equipment to do so. For telecom companies in 2021, this means taking a systemic and global approach to SS7 protection. This, in turn, necessitates the implementation of appropriate solutions and security mechanisms to safeguard their networks and user devices from these attack vectors.

EFANI Black Seal Protection can provide protection against such attack vectors including SS7 attacks, and other vectors such as:

While this seems dire, there is one solution that protects against all these threats and that is the EFANI Black Seal mobile plan.  EFANI has incorporated layers of security and privacy to encrypt your voice, SMS, and text, and employs a cloud solution to detect, protect and notify the user in real-time when an obtrusion attempt is occurring. 

Take Care.

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Executives Security 101

executives security 101
Executives-Security

Protect Your Highest-Risk Executives from Targeted (Mobile Based) Cyber Attacks

Employee account takeover can result in significant losses for companies. However, senior executives, board members, and employees with access privileges are all particularly vulnerable to attack. The attackers may employ novel methods to gain their accounts access that are lucrative and have a financial motive behind it. 

While enterprise security teams can protect corporate logins, executives’ accounts are not under corporate control. If an executive’s password is compromised as a result of a data breach, their unprotected accounts may provide entry points for a determined attacker to gain access to company resources.

The online world is becoming increasingly personal. Because of the ease with which personal data can be collected via online capabilities such as “cookies,” companies are now much stronger at targeting executives’ needs and customizing to best meet their desires.

However, there is a negative aspect to this targeting: malicious hackers are focusing on the executives and gaining access to corporate systems and information through them. Not only do executives enjoy VIP protocol, but they also typically have greater access to sensitive information. Unfortunately, they often have less stringent security restrictions as compared to other employees, frequently travel – relying on public Wi-Fi and mobile – which are prone to an “entourage” of powerful people who provide access.

Organizations can keep track of corporate credentials to lower the risk of any breach exposures to keep attackers out of enterprise accounts. Executives may reuse vulnerable passwords across private logins that your deployed security team is unable to monitor, and any account associated with it may become an asset for an intruder. 

It is worth noting that:

  1. Executives in the C-suite were 12 times more vulnerable to cyber-attacks.
  2. 71% of C-suite cyber attacks were influenced by monetary benefits.
  3. C-suite executives are identified as the top cyber-security risk by 40% of companies

Threat Landscape

Cybercriminals are becoming more advanced over time, employing increasingly diverse and advanced attack vectors to reach unsuspecting phone devices. One of the most dreaded attacks involving unsecured [public] Wi-Fi hotspots is the man-in-the-middle [MITM] attack, in which data is intercepted by a scammer over an unsecured connection without the mobile user knowledge.

A man-in-the-middle [MITM] attack on an executive target is a hacker’s ideal scenario. They can gain access to the most sensitive personal data (especially that is linked with company data) while their victim is unaware.

Best Practices: Behavioral Changes to Risk Exposure

You can also apply these standard protocols to secure your critical information:

  1. Training is essential. It must be tailored to the varying roles that exist within an organization, especially for those at the executive level. Executives must be educated on the scope and nature of the cyber threats they face, as well as the critical role they play in formulating their cyber security.
  2. Decent cyber security practice is a behavioral issue. Although this appears to be a reasonable security feature, this could end up being harmful for the organization in other ways. With several mobile devices connected to Wi-Fi-primarily, prohibiting access to Wi-Fi hotspots can result in a significant decrease in productivity. People must stay connected to be efficiently productive both within and outside the organization. Regardless of the security risks, it is intuitive for mobile workers to pursue Wi-Fi connectivity. Many employees do so even if their employers have prohibited them from using unsecured public Wi-Fi. However, adjusting how people access their information and protect it can be challenging, particularly if it requires additional steps. Employees must engage in more effort and time into making cyber security best practices. The practices include building their virtual private networks to encrypt communications threads, use password managers, and monitoring should be a part of their daily routine. 
  3. Executives must also recognize that their cyber risk extends far beyond the firm’s front door. Data governance, training on identification of social engineering attacks and phishing, guidance on limiting exposure, as well as keeping yourself aware of emerging fraud schemes can all help the VIPs reduce their cyber risk. Resilience commences with executives becoming aware of the situation and receiving guidelines for managing their strategic profile (i.e. cyber risk).

Managing risk – EFANI got you covered!

As cyber threats keep rising, cybercriminals have their sights set on the C-suite. To protect those executives and the enterprise as a whole, organizations must treat their executives as assets, accounting for executives’ unique cybersecurity threats – both at home and work – and actively attempting to address them.

The cyber exposure of executives must be treated as a critical security issue for the enterprise. A pivotal security issue would be addressed, and it would be on the firm’s radar at all times. That is exactly what you need to do when it comes to executive or VIP cyber risk.

Any personal account takeover will be used to gain access to your enterprise resources. As we’ve learned that a threat actor impersonates the executive and social engineer colleagues into taking risky actions. Efani’s Black Seal (premium plan – invites only) and SAFE (i.e. Basic Plan) allow you to close these overlooked security gaps – thus providing extensive mobile protection, including guaranteed sim swap prevention at minimum.

Reminder

A high-profile data breach is reported almost every day. Consequently, enterprises and their executives are becoming increasingly conscious of the risks they encounter. Even if enterprises can recognize the most serious security threats, most still struggle to strike a balance between security and productivity. They must realize, even so, that burying their heads in the sand is not an effective solution. Speak to our VP to learn more about Black Seal or call us at 855-55-EFANI.

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Bluetooth and Perceived Security Threats

bluetooth and perceived security threats
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Bluetooth is best recognized as the wireless technology that enables hands-free earpieces and uses the Internet of Things to connect your phone to audio, navigation, and gadgets (such as, IoT). Bluetooth, as useful as it is for productivity and comfort, can also pose significant security-based mobile threats. While most of the issues that were identified five to ten years ago have been rectified, others still exist. There’s also cause to be wary when it comes to new, as-yet-undiscovered privacy-related issues.

Some perceived benefits include:

  • The ability to replace cables is one of the most important advantages of Bluetooth technology. Bluetooth technology can be used to replace a number of cords, including those used for peripheral devices (e.g., mouse and keyboard connections), printers, and wireless headsets and ear buds that connect to personal computers (PCs) or mobile phones.
  • File sharing is simple. A piconet can be formed by a Bluetooth-enabled device to allow file sharing capabilities with other Bluetooth devices, such as laptops.
  • Synchronization over the air. Bluetooth allows Bluetooth-enabled devices to automatically synchronise. Bluetooth, for example, allows contact information from electronic address books and calendars to be synchronised.
  • Internet access is required. Bluetooth devices that have Internet connection can share it with other Bluetooth devices. A laptop, for example, can use a Bluetooth connection to have a mobile phone establish a dial-up connection, allowing the laptop to connect to the Internet via the phone.

As technology advances, phone hackers, often known as “phreakers,” have an even greater edge. The following is a simplified list of Bluetooth-related attacks:

Vulnerabilities in General Software

Bluetooth software isn’t perfect, especially in devices that use the newer Bluetooth 5 specification. It’s almost unheard of to come across software that has no security flaws. It’s easy for attackers to identify new, previously undiscovered vulnerabilities in Bluetooth devices, as Finnish security researchers Tommi Mäkilä, Jukka Taimisto, and Miia Vuontisjärvi demonstrated in 2011. Charges for pricey premium-rate or international calls, data theft, or drive-by virus downloads are all possible consequences.

To protect yourself from these vulnerabilities, make sure to turn off your Bluetooth when you’re not using it.

SNARF Attack

This attack is usually only possible when a phone is connected to the network in “discovery” or “visible” mode. Setting the phone to “invisible” mode was assumed to stop the attacks, however, tools have lately been developed on the internet that can overcome even these settings. SNARF attacks may now be set up on practically any phone. The only guaranteed way to protect yourself from SNARF threats is to turn off Bluetooth on your phone when you don’t need it.

Eavesdropping

Bluetooth is a wireless communication standard named after Harald “Bluetooth” Gormsson, a Viking king who worked to unite various 10th-century European groups. Criminals should not be able to listen in on your data or phone calls if you use Bluetooth encryption.

Eavesdropping, in other words, should not be an issue. Older Bluetooth devices that use outdated versions of the Bluetooth protocol, on the other hand, are likely to be vulnerable to unpatched security flaws.

To counter this issue, prohibit the usage of Bluetooth 1.x, 2.0, or 4.0-LE devices and require that devices use the most recent versions and protocols.

Denial of Service

Malicious attackers can cause your devices to crash, prevent you from receiving calls, and drain your power. To counteract this threat, make sure your Bluetooth is turned off while you’re not using it.

The range of Bluetooth is far greater than you might believe.

Bluetooth is intended to function as a “personal area network.” That is to say, Bluetooth should not be used to connect devices that are more than a few feet apart. However, simply keeping a safe distance between you and a possible attacker isn’t enough; hackers have been known to effectively communicate over considerably longer distances using directional, high-gain antennas.

BLUEBUG Attack 

The BLUEBUG exploit establishes the phone’s serial connection, giving the attacker access to all of the phone’s AT commands. This allows the attacker to make and receive phone calls, as well as access internet data services. It’s also been revealed that if the phone is connected to a GSM network, it’s easy to listen in on nearby phones’ chats. If executed correctly, this attack takes about 2 seconds to finish and leaves almost no sign of its intrusion. Incoming calls can then be routed to other devices by an attacker.

Backdoor Attack

Another security breach is the BACKDOOR attack, which works by establishing an unauthorized connection to the target’s phone. This attack, on the other hand, works by creating a trust relationship using Bluetooth’s pairing mechanism, but then removes the attacker device from the pair list after the link is made. As a result, unless the device’s owner is watching the pair list at the precise moment a connection is created, it’s doubtful that they’ll realize the attacker is still linked after the pair has been deleted from the list.

The attacker will then gain access to all of the information that a “trusted” connection would provide, but without the owner’s permission. This would allow access to the phone’s authorized data, as well as phone calls and instant messages. This attack, however, is more limited than the SNARF attack because it only grants access to information marked for trusted connections.

WARNIBBLING

WARNIBBLING is a hacking technique in which a phreaker tries to locate and access as many vulnerable Bluetooth phones as possible. To sniff for accessible phones, they often utilize laptops or PCs with high gain antennas and sophisticated software, such as Redfang. Rather than staying still, warnibblers will wander around, mapping as many phones as they can. Some drive, while others move from café to café, but the end consequence is the same: they frequently compromise the safety of huge groups of people.

BLUEJACKING

BLUEJACKING, unlike prior attacks, does not provide adversary access to any data. Instead, a tiny flaw in the Bluetooth pairing process can be exploited to send a message to a user. This is usually innocuous, as attackers employed BLUEJACKING to express themselves, spread counter-culture propaganda, or simply demonstrate their ability to breach a consumer’s security.

Recommended Practices

  • Bluetooth technology necessitates the development of an organisational wireless security policy.
  • It is necessary to make sure that all Bluetooth users on the network are aware of their security responsibilities when using Bluetooth.
  • To fully understand the organization’s Bluetooth security posture, detailed security assessments must be performed at regular intervals.
  • It is necessary to guarantee that wireless devices and networks that use Bluetooth technology are well understood and documented from an architectural standpoint.
  • Users should be given a list of precautions to take in order to better protect their portable Bluetooth devices from theft.
  • Change the Bluetooth device’s default settings to reflect the organization’s security policy; Bluetooth devices should be set to the lowest necessary and sufficient power level to keep transmissions within the organization’s secure perimeter.
  • PIN numbers that are suitably random and long should be chosen. Avoid PINs that are static or weak, such as all zeros.
  • If a Bluetooth device is misplaced or stolen, users should unpair it from all other Bluetooth devices with which it was previously associated.
  • Antivirus software must be installed on Bluetooth-enabled hosts, which are regularly attacked by malware.
  • Bluetooth software patches and upgrades must be thoroughly tested and deployed on a regular basis.
  • Users should not accept any transmissions from unidentified or suspicious devices. Messages, data, and photos are examples of these forms of transfers.

See the bigger picture 

Bluetooth is a wireless technology that can do a lot more than merely connect items wirelessly. Bluetooth version 4.0 offers faster data rates, a longer range, and improved security. It’s critical to create and convey company policies for mobile device security, including Bluetooth, so that your organization’s data isn’t jeopardized and your end users can operate safely while on the go. Keep in mind that mobile devices provide a range of threats that must be handled, and Bluetooth security is just one piece of the mobile security puzzle that is sometimes disregarded. For both home and business security, make sure to include mobile device security as part of your overall cybersecurity strategy.

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IMSI Catchers – Mobile Security

imsi catchers mobile security
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Israel was attributed for the IMSI catchers discovered in Washington, D.C. three years prior in September 2019, demonstrating the frequency of these types of eavesdropping equipment. Previously used only by law enforcement to locate the international mobile subscriber identity (IMSI) associated with a criminal suspect’s SIM card for investigation purposes, an IMSI catcher may now be purchased or built by almost anyone to intercept a target’s communications. With such low barriers to entry, these devices are no longer simply for the bad people to be concerned about.

This paper will look into certain aspects to unfold the true dangers of ISMI/stringays, etc. 

What is IMSI and how does it work?

Cracking GSM encryption, passive GSM interception, and aggressive GSM interception are all examples of GSM attacks. IMSI catchers come under the last type, serving as a transceiver and actively interfering with communications between mobile phones and base stations (simultaneously transmitting and receiving). 

IMSI catchers deploy a “man-in-the-middle” [MITM] attack, presenting the fake mobile phone to the genuine base station and the fake base station to the real mobile phone at the same time. IMSI catchers can determine the IMSI numbers of nearby mobile phones, which is the trademark capability from which they get their name. They can then identify mobile traffic on the network and target it for interception and analysis using the IMSI.

Stingrays have become commonly known as IMSI catchers. Particularly among law enforcement agencies, they’ve been dubbed “cell site simulators” or “cell site emulators”, fake cell tower, rogue base station, StingRay or dirtbox. Because the 2G protocol has a lot of security flaws that make spying easier, IMSI catchers will frequently try to force communication over 2G. For one thing, encryption isn’t always necessary. Many of the underlying cryptographic methods (such as A5/1) can be broken in real time if this is the case.

IMSI catchers with more advanced capabilities can intercept texts and listen in on phone calls. They may also be able to intercept data transmissions, such as phone numbers dialled, web pages browsed, and other data. IMSI catchers are frequently equipped with jamming technology (to cause 3G and 4G phones to connect at 2G speeds) and other denial-of-service features. Some IMSI catchers may be able to retrieve things such as images and SMS from the target phone.

IMSI Catchers: How Do Criminals Use Them?

An IMSI catcher thus provides threat actors with a number of alternatives, based on the device’s capabilities and the cellular protocol in use.

  • Location Tracking: An IMSI catcher can force a targeted smartphone to respond with its specific location using GPS or the signal intensities of the phone’s adjacent cell towers, allowing trilateration based on these towers’ known locations. When a threat actor knows where a target is, he or she can learn more about them, such as their exact location within a large office complex or the sites they frequent, or just track them across the coverage area.
  • Data interception: Some IMSI catchers allow operators to reroute calls and texts, alter communications, and impersonate a user’s identity in calls and texts. 
  • Spyware delivery: Some of the more expensive IMSI catchers claim to be able to transmit spyware to the target device. Without the use of an IMSI catcher, such spyware can ping the target’s position and discreetly gather images and sounds through the device’s cameras and microphones.
  • Data extraction: An IMSI catcher may also gather metadata such as phone numbers, caller IDs, call durations, and the content of unencrypted phone conversations and text messages, as well as some forms of data consumption (like websites visited).

Options for Detection

There is no guaranteed way for a smartphone user to know if their device is linked to an IMSI catcher, much alone prohibit connections with IMSI catchers, at this time. Slow cellular connections and a change in band in the status bar (for example, from LTE to 2G) are indicators, however slow connections happen to unaffected users as well, and certain IMSI catchers can operate in 4G.

IMSI catcher detection applications are only available for Android, and they require rooting the device – which is itself a security flaw – in order to access the cellular network communications available through the smartphone baseband’s diagnostic interface. For identifying IMSI catchers, there are more reliable hardware options available, which makes sense for protecting several smartphone users in a single location, such as a business headquarters or military post.

A typical arrangement includes a fixed, embedded system with sensor hardware and a cellular modem for continually monitoring the broadcast signals of nearby base stations, as well as a database to which data can be uploaded for analysis. When an IMSI catcher is found, alarms can be sent to all smartphone users in the organisation.

Upgrade to Efani’s Black Seal Protection 

While this appears to be a catastrophic situation, there is one option that can safeguard you from all of these threats: the EFANI Black Seal Protection. EFANI uses many levels of security and privacy to encrypt your voice, SMS, and text messages, as well as a cloud-based solution to detect, protect, and warn users in real time when an intrusion attempt is made.

At the network level, Efani’s Black Seal Protection delivers a unique military-grade capability for detecting IMSI Catchers and preventing Man in the Middle Attacks. The key strength of this solution is its ease of use. It is designed for cutting-edge protection on the SIM-card level and mass-deployment in large enterprises.

Installing the EFANI encrypted SIM card into your smartphone and answering a few questions to activate is all it takes. The user experience is unchanged, but security, privacy, and peace of mind have been added. 

Perhaps most crucially, simply acknowledging that your cellular connections are unreliable may cause you to reconsider the information you exchange through them. Your security posture will benefit as a result.

In a nutshell

Communication interceptions, service denial, and even location monitoring are all frequent MITM threats. Symptoms of such attacks aren’t always visible, with the exception of service denial if all communications are stopped. Otherwise, if someone wasn’t actively seeking for intercepted communications or double-checking every page they visited to make sure they weren’t being sent to an attacker-controlled domain, they might not even be aware that they were being tracked.

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Tanzania: DSE Turnover Reaches 74bn/ – Year to Date

tanzania dse turnover reaches 74bn year to date

EQUITIES continue to rally the market as the Tanzania Share Index (TSI) gains 4.45 per cent from the start of the year to date, largely attributed to the increase in prices of CRDB, DSE, TPCC, TCCL and NICO.

Market turnover indicates how much trading activity took place on a given business day in the market as a whole, the Dar es Salaam Stock exchange equity trading activities has stemmed 74bn/-transacted between investors from the start of the year to 19th August 2021.

Higher turnover in a stock indicates better liquidity which means that it is easier to sell the stock in the market. Stocks that recorded turnover higher than 1.0bn/- in the period include: CRDB 12.35bn/-, DSE 1.67bn/-, NMB 18.21bn/-, TBL 19.38bn/-, TPCC 12.57bn/- and Voda 4.7bn/-.

All sectors posted gains during the year as the stock market performance was quite broad-based. Industry and allied was the best-performing sector, trading over 35.29bn/- spurred by stable yields. Banking came in second, trading over 30.56bn/- spurred by good 2020 end of year financial results. Investors continued the broad trend of rotation towards value stocks and large-cap stocks during the period.

Why is stock market liquidity important?

Liquidity describes the extent to which an asset can be bought and sold quickly and at stable prices. In simple terms it is a measure of how many buyers and sellers are present, and whether transactions can take place easily. If there are only a few market participants, trading infrequently, it is said to be an illiquid market or to have low liquidity.

Usually, liquidity is calculated by taking the volume of trades. As indicated above total turnover for the Dar es Salaam Stock market for locally listed stocks was 74bn/-.

The Dar es Salaam stock exchange has shown high levels of liquidity arising due to significant levels of trading activity owing to high supply and demand for stocks, as it is easier to find a buyer or seller. Most stocks that have traded during the period include ones that have announced dividends as investors are looking to cash in on equity returns as the fixed income market continues to suffer from low yields.

Key drivers for the stock market growth are:

(1) Stronger earnings expectation – We expect stronger earnings expectation in the Industry & Allied (IA) Banks, Finance & Investment sectors to stimulate demand for stocks.

(2) Increased foreign investor participation – we expect the recovery and stable outlook of the Tanzanian currency supported by improving economic conditions to boost investor confidence in the stock market and create more demand for stocks.

From a valuation perspective, Industry & Allied (IA) Banks, Finance & Investment the banking sectors are highly attractive with some key listed companies in the sectors trading at attractive metrics.

Enduring good performance of the stock market, our outlook appears to lean favorably as we expect the stock market indices to replicate positive growth trends as we head into September. High demand for CRDB, DSE, TCCL and TPCC will likely push their respective prices up in September.

Positive economic momentum

Expansive monetary policy by the central bank will accelerate economic growth and improve market liquidity; a low lending interest environment will lower borrowing cost making equities the most attractive option in risk assets. We expect the remainder of 2021 to be characterized by sector and stock selection as the market transitions to an economic expansion and stronger focus on valuations. Furthermore, equities in the stock market continue to make new highs as The Tanzania Share Index (TSI) is up by 4.45 per cent YTD with individual stocks such as CRDB up by 33.3 per cent and TPCC up by 56 per cent YTD and we continue to see improving economic environment. Expansive monetary policy by the central bank will accelerate economic growth and improve market liquidity.

Low Treasury bond yields

The yield curve, typically represented by the 20-year and the 2-year Treasury yield will continue to fall. A steep yield curve in the primary Treasury bond market often precedes a period of economic expansion. We will continue to see a low yield environment as the central bank continues to implement expansive monetary policy. We expect the central bank to remain cautious and diligent about maintaining expansionary policy.

The analysis is compiled by Zan Securities, a capital markets and securities authority licensed dealer and a member of the Dar es Salaam Stock Exchange (DSE). It is currently one of the leading stock market dealers in terms of modern ICT infrastructure and branch network from Zanzibar and Tanzania Mainland.

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Namibia: Mtc to Prioritise Previously Disadvantaged On Listing

namibia mtc to prioritise previously disadvantaged on listing
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IF TOO many people and companies want to buy shares in Mobile Telecommunications Limited (MTC), priority would be given to previously disadvantaged Namibians, MTC has said.

The company announced this last Friday, and has set 20 September this year as the date to release the prospectus detailing how much its shares will cost as the company prepares to go public.

Approval to list has been granted by the Namibian Stock Exchange (NSX) and the prospectus was submitted to the registrar of companies last week.

The listing of MTC’s 49% is the largest proposed listing by a Namibian company since the establishment of the NSX and will have Namibia Post and Telecommunications Holdings Limited (NPTH) retaining the 51%.

NPTH – A 100% state-owned company holds majority of the market share in the country’s telecommunications industry through MTC and Telecom Namibia.

MTC is expected to be listed before the end of November 2021.

“We take great pleasure to invite you to share in the prosperity by subscribing for shares in this truly Namibian company. The listing will provide an opportunity for all MTC customers, staff, stakeholders, and the public in general, to acquire MTC shares and participate in the ownership,” said MTC.

Previously disadvantaged Namibians will be given preference on the shares, then MTC staff and customers, followed finally by Namibian institutions, the Southern African Development Community and international investors.

Full details of the public offer will be disclosed in the prospectus.

The offer to subscribe for shares is expected to close at 12h00 on 1 November 2021.

Following the announcement, the internet was abuzz with several Namibians overjoyed. Among them was former NPTH board member Ally Angula who said this listing is a “win for the Namibian people. Please register to buy your share of a great Namibian brand”.

The information and technology sector in which MTC is part, registered a 17,4% growth in 2020 and is expected to grow by 7,4% this year according the Bank of Namibia predictions.

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7 must-use tips to boost your Linux Privacy in 2021

7 must use tips to boost your linux privacy in 2021
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There’s a myth. Just because you are using Linux doesn’t mean you are not getting any viruses or malware.

In reality, all operating systems, when combined with the people who use them, present a plethora of security threats and vulnerabilities that can be exploited.

Believing in Linux magic is a hoax but yes, you can be super protective with the Linux privacy tips we are here to give you.

Enjoy the read…

Password Protection

Make sure you select a strong and lengthy password, even though this should be required. This should be a mandatory step during the installation process. Make sure you have rigorous password policies in place because all it takes is one susceptible machine on your network to bring the world to an end. Your Linux privacy is all in your hands.

Data Encryption and Linux Privacy

Encrypting your data is an important step when it comes to maximizing your Linux privacy. Full disc encryption is great, but if you’re working on a shared machine, you can also encrypt simply your home directory. This is normally done during the installation process, and it is tough to do later. In that case, the most straightforward remedy is to back up your data and then reinstall the OS with encryption options selected.

Remove Unnecessary Applications

A lightweight OS is all you need for speed, usage, and privacy. Only keeping the apps that are really necessary will ensure optimal efficiency. It also lowers the chances of a poorly developed application acting as a portal to vulnerabilities.

After you have identified such apps, you can use BleachBit to do deep cleaning. It can quickly delete cookies, free your cache, and obliterate temporary files.

[Please note that this is just for educational purposes, we do not endorse any third-party applications/solutions, therefore, we are not liable].

Disable Unnecessary Daemons

You might have selected a few services at the time of installation that you won’t use. External ports may be used by these daemons. You can easily switch off these services if you don’t need them. This will preserve your privacy while also potentially optimizing your boot times!

Remote Connection Settings for your Linux Privacy

There are a few easy actions you may take to lessen the danger of an attack and increase your Linux privacy if you utilize SSH for remote access. The simplest solution is to use a port other than the default 22. (and below 1024). PermitRootLogin no in the SSH config file can also be used to block remote root login.

Boost Linux Privacy with a VPN

Right present, there are a plethora of VPN services to choose from. Many of them come with Linux clients pre-installed. Your internet traffic will be cloaked and encrypted using a VPN. Anyone attempting to intercept your traffic will see all of your online activity as jumbled. Furthermore, certain VPNs can spoof or modify your IP address. We highly suggest building your own VPN and if needed you can let us know if you want a blog on building a VPN on Linux.

Firewall

Your operating system may already have a built-in firewall, most likely iptables. Firewalls can be difficult to configure using the command line, but a GUI frontend, such as Gufw, is likely to be available for easier control.

Conclusion

Privacy is intimidating especially during a pandemic-led cyber crisis. There was never a stronger need for cybersecurity protocols than now. We want the best protection for you and your PII. Take care and deploy an Efani carrier to protect yourself against sim swapping (at minimum)!

Source
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Tunisia: Net Foreign Exchange Reserves Down 1,945.4 Million Dinars – BCT

tunisia net foreign exchange reserves down 1945 4 million dinars bct
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Tunis/Tunisia — Net foreign exchange reserves stood at 19.731 billion dinars (123 days of import) until August 18, against 21.676,4 billion dinars (143 days of import) in the same period last year, posting a drop of 1.945,4 billion dinars (-20 days of import).

This drop is due to the 71.9% fall in cumulative tourism revenues until August 10, compared to 1.317,7 billion dinars last year, preliminary data of the Central Bank of Tunisia (BCT) issued Thursday showed.