A couple of researchers claim to have successfully hacked into a femtocell sold by the USA based Verizon Wireless in a manner that enabled them to eavesdrop on communications sent by mobile phones connecting to the small cell device.
Tom Ritter, a senior consultant with the security firm iSEC Partners demonstrated the hack to Reuters in advance of public demonstrations at two forthcoming hacking conferences.
Verizon says that it has already plugged the security hole, although previously hacked femtocells are apparently unfixable by the software update.
Ritter and his colleague, Doug DePerry, demonstrated to Reuters how they can eavesdrop on text messages, photos and phone calls made with Android or Apple iPhones that connected to the affected femtocells.
They did not comment on the exact method the hack was deployed and said that at the moment, it is just a “proof of concept” that such interceptions could be possible.
The ability to hack into femtocell software so that they can spoof conventional base stations and forces unwitting handsets to log onto them had been a concern, but is generally considered to be unlikely due to the extensive amount of effort it would take to recode the femtocell, and the speed at which such hacks could be overwritten with carrier software updates. (Cellular-News.com)