Coming soon to your smartphone: a network that everybody could turn off

Do you love your smartphone? Do you love being always connected? Do you (or your doctor, your firefighters, your ambulances, the people carrying all the goods you use on a daily basis…) need all this? If yes, here is something you should know: the “coming soon” networks that make all this possible may be very, very fragile. The few paragraphs below explain why, with the shortest and simplest syntesis I’ve been able to make of a long, but great article that you really should read.


LTE (long-term evolution) networks are wireless networks, set to replace existing 3G networks with transmission speeds up to 10 times greater. But LTE networks are, as it turns out, also much more vulnerable to attacks.

One cheap (less than 700/800 USD) transmitter, as small as a briefcase and powered by one car battery, could make unreachable an LTE station serving thousands of people, disturbing the right 1% of its signals.

And this is just one of several simple, cheap ways in which the bad guys could take out of service a whole LTE station, without even touching it.

Apparently, right now there is no way to deal with this that “is also backward-compatible and covers it all.” And the more the majority of people waits to demand effective solutions, the longer it will take to have them, and the harder it will be.


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