Less than a third of mobile users (30 percent) are aware of any security weaknesses within mobile networks that can lead to their calls or texts being intercepted.
Research conducted by Xura, Inc. has revealed the extent to which mobile subscribers are unaware of vulnerabilities in their mobile operator's network allowing them to become victims of fraud or unauthorised location tracking. Nearly 1,700 mobile network subscribers in the UK, US and Australia were questioned for the research.
Reasons for the respondent's security concerns included vulnerabilities in operating systems (nine percent), apps (six percent), operator data leaks (three percent) and vulnerabilities in Bluetooth, WiFi and voicemail hacking.
Almost a third (32 percent) of mobile subscribers never check their balance or bill to verify that they have been correctly charged or to detect possible suspicious activity on their account.
Twenty-two percent of subscribers don't implement any rules when they decide to grant apps permission to access other features or data on their phone.
More than half of subscribers felt like they would be severely or badly affected by a denial of service attack (58 percent), fraudulent calls and SMS subscriptions, respectively (52 percent).
If they were to become a victim of mobile cyber-crime, 49 percent of subscribers would seek compensation from their mobile network operator and a third (33 percent) would inform the telecom regulator. Worse still, 29 percent would change their network provider either immediately (22 percent) or at the next renewal date (seven percent).
“Despite a reasonable degree of awareness to potential threats, many subscribers increase their exposure to risk by not checking bills or not paying attention to app permissions. As subscribers, we need to take more care and be more vigilant. However, cyber-crime conducted through SS7 vulnerabilities in the network may be completely invisible to consumers. The right place to tackle these threats is in the network, but right not many networks are not adequately protected from potential signaling attacks. Now is the time for the operators to join the fight against cyber-crime,” said Mark Windle, strategy and marketing director at Xura Security.