The SS7 Vulnerability in Mobile Networks is Super Scary

February 27, 2018

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With just a phone number, a hacker can intercept text messages from anywhere in the world. An open and unfixable vulnerability in the worldwide mobile phone network infrastructure (SS7) that makes scarily easy.

See just how easy in this 60 minutes report.

In a 2014 study, 89% of physicians polled admitted to taking medical images on their smartphones, up from 65% in a 2012 survey. Anecdotally, the practice of doctors taking photos and sending them via text message is rife.

Consider a scenario where a hacker threatens to reveal patient photos unless they receive (say) $1,000.

  1. The doctor is ethically and (in most countries) legally obligated to notify the patient.
  2. The doctor is often required to notify relevant government bodies.
  3. The doctor may be issued a fine.
  4. The doctor may face suspension, dismissal or other disciplinary action.

See the "How big of a threat is cyber-extortion?" FAQ for details and specifics for your country.

The rampant use of text message for sending patient photos, and the proliferation of crypto-currencies that facilitate untraceable anonymous transactions, mean such a scenario is "very real".

When it comes to sending clinical photos, the solution is simple. Encrypt clinical photos on your device before sending them. That is exactly what PicSafe does.