Five Telco Security Risks to Be Aware Of

By   ISBuzz Team
Writer , Information Security Buzz | Jan 07, 2016 06:00 pm PST

Security is one of the top concerns of those in the telecommunications industry. Think about it: telecoms work with individuals, businesses, and even government organizations, which puts them at every level of society. They transport data great and small, and store valuable information increasingly in the cloud. As a result, telco companies can be of great interest to cyber attackers. Yet the greatest security risks aren’t always malicious in nature, so it’s important to be aware of what these risks are in order to avoid them. Here are five of the top telco security concerns to think about.

  1. Uninformed employees compromising telco security

Companies are on the alert for hackers or foreign enemies of the state, but one of the greatest threats is actually the mild-mannered employee sitting in their administrative department. If an organisation’s staff hasn’t been trained properly when it comes to telco security, they may unwittingly leak client data or lead to more serious security breaches, particularly on social media. It’s important to make sure that everyone receives basic training about issues like encryption, choosing secure passwords, and the latest protocols to ensure that all members of the company are on board. You’re only as secure as the weakest link.

  1. Illegal traffic interception

Another security risk to be aware of is the use of modified base stations to illegally intercept traffic. If you have any weakness in your signalling system, this could be used to hack into the traffic and intercept data. Telecom networks should be tested regularly to detect this type of abnormal activity as quickly as possible.

  1. IP Hijacking

With an increasing number of telco companies offering mobile apps, VoIP services, and cloud computing, practices like internet route hijacking or IP hijacking can become a major concern. This involves corrupting internet routes to steal packets of data as they are transmitted. One solution could be Border Gateway Protocol or similar practices.

  1. Weaknesses in the supply chain

In addition to data being hijacked as it moves through internet routes and traffic illegally intercepted due to weak signalling systems, another security threat is the fact that the telco company supply chain moves all over the world and involves complex layers of equipment. When hardware comes from one country and software from another, there is ample opportunity to poke holes in it and create new security risks. Be aware of your manufacturer’s location, looking at localized security issues to create solutions. This is a distinct aspect of telco security for global companies like Nokia Networks or Ericsson, as compared to smaller companies that may only operate locally.

  1. A shifting cloud landscape

Finally, because the telco landscape is increasingly moving into the cloud, this is unveiling new security risks and weaknesses every day. Savvy hacker and cyber adversaries are always looking for weaknesses to exploit, so it’s important to stay up to date with cloud ecosystems and how they work. Over half of operators already use some sort of cloud service, but only one fifth of these have a cloud-based security system in place. Operators must implement practices like data encryption along with their cloud services to stay on top of the challenge.

Telco security is a game with the goalposts always moving, like anything else in technology, so it’s vital to stay on top of the latest risks.

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