When it comes to communication between individuals and companies, telecommunications can’t be missed from the conversation. It impacts every person and business in one way or another. Telecommunications enables businesses to collaborate easily, allows employees to communicate both internally and externally.
It is the tool to negotiate and deliver your product and services to the end-users. It is connected to every industry, it encompasses each sector. Telecommunications is everywhere. Hence, this area is more exposed to external threats than others.
It is crucial to ensure a strong line of defense in this industry, so your entire organization has up-to-date protection and is aware of best practices. That is why telecom security is most essential.
In many cases, the hardware used by the telecommunications industry carries configuration interfaces that can be accessed openly via HTTP, SSH, FTP or telnet. This means that if the firewall is not configured correctly, the hardware in question becomes an easy target for unauthorized access.
The risk presented by publicly exposed GTP/GRX (GPRS Tunneling Protocol/GPRSRoaming Exchange) ports on devices provides a good example of this. As CSPs encrypt the GPRS traffic between the devices and the Serving GPRS Support Node (SGSN), it is difficult to intercept and decrypt the transferred data. However, an attacker can bypass this restriction by searching on Shodan.io for devices with open GTP ports, connecting to them and then encapsulating GTP control packets into the created tunnel.
An example of such an attack took place in March 2015, when Internet traffic for 167 important British Telecom customers, including a UK defense contractor that helps to deliver the country's nuclear warhead program, was illegally diverted to servers in Ukraine before being passed along to its final destinations.
To avoid probable attacks against BGP from unauthorized remote malefactors, we recommend that companies provide network filtering, allowing only a limited number of authorized peers to connect to BGP services. To protect against malicious re-routing and hijacking initiated through authorized autonomous systems we recommend that they monitor anomalies in BGP communications (this can be done through specialized software solutions or by subscribing to alerts from vendors providing this kind of monitoring.)
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Safeguarding against threats, reducing the attack surface, and security systems of large, complicated, and multifaceted organisations is not a quick fix. Cost is also a contributing factor, as many organisations have limited resources, and are unable to secure their devices, systems, people, and processes internally.
This is what Managed Security Providers (MSP’s) provide. With the right threat intelligence, telecommunication companies are able to enhance their business profile, make business decisions based off of accurate data, and empower their security team to quickly and accurately address cyber threats and mitigate them in rapid time.
Digital Risk and Threat Monitoring, can be used to harvest information available on the dark web, deep web and in the public domain, to provide superior security and visibility to identify and highlight attacks, detect breached material and safeguard data, people and processes against future threats within the industry.
Telecom players have both an exciting and complex time ahead. On the one hand, the industry is undergoing major transformations, resulting in new revenue opportunities and value streams. On the other hand, an increased presence of new assets (such as IoT devices) and increased pressure on the old communication protocols enlarges the defense perimeter every telco needs to create.
Ultimately, to have strong and reliable telecom security mechanisms, you will need to switch from reactive security to proactive – one that relies on extensive monitoring and has predictive capabilities, powered by advanced analytics and AI. Conduct proper risk assessments for current systems, decentralize and automate the core security requirements with appropriate tools and run even deeper assessments for emerging technologies such as IoT, 5G, and NFV among others.