aLTEr LTE Based Attack Is In The Wild And Is Unpatchable

If you use a smartphone on an LTE network, which means that I’m talking about everyone who is reading this, there is an upatchable flaw in the LTE standard that can allow an attacker to snoop on your browsing habits and redirect you to spoofing sites that could snatch your login credentials among other things.

The attack is called aLTEr and it was discovered by David Rupprecht, Katharina Kohls, Thorsten Holz and Christina Pöpper from Ruhr-Universität Bochum and New York University Abu Dhabi. Rather than explain this attack to you, you should watch this video instead:

The attack may be out there. But it isn’t likely to be widespread for the following reasons:

  1. You need about $4000 worth of gear to build yourself a fake cell tower to pull this off. That means the average 12 won’t be doing this. But an intelligence agency would try this.
  2. You have to be within a mile of the intended victim. Again an intelligence agency targeting a specific victim would try something like this.

There’s no way to stop it because fixing it requires the LTE standard to be overhauled. Which isn’t going to happen with 5G networks on the horizon which apparently protect one from this sort of attack. The best you might be able to do is to only surf to https encrypted sites. But that may not be a guarantee. Thus you might want to double check and triple check what you’re surfing on LTE to so that you stay safe.

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