The Electronic Frontier Foundation recommends 'setting to disable 2G', how to protect 4G and 5G smartphones from 2G security risks?

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has issued a welcome statement that Google has added a new feature to Android 12 released in 2021 that can disable 2G mobile communication systems (2G). It is said that 2G has a vulnerability that enables interception of communication contents.

VICTORY: Google Releases “disable 2g” Feature for New Android Smartphones | Electronic Frontier Foundation

EFF updated its official website on January 12, 2022, saying, 'Google has quietly added a setting item to Android that allows users to disable 2G on their devices. This is effective for monitoring technology. It's a great feature. We applaud Google for implementing this essential feature. Apple should implement the same feature for the safety of our users. '

According to EFF, 2G, which appeared in 1991, has two major problems. One of them is that it uses a weak cipher for communication between the tower and the terminal, so it is possible to break the cipher in real time and intercept the contents of the call and the exchange of text messages. Due to this problem, an attacker can steal information completely passively without sending any packets from himself.

In 2021, it was discovered that the 2G encryption algorithm was intentionally vulnerable.

A paper is published that reveals that 'a backdoor was intentionally installed' in the early mobile phone network --GIGAZINE

by Patrick Breen

Another problem with 2G is that it doesn't have a function for base station authentication, so anyone can easily impersonate a 2G base station, and terminals communicating with 2G have no way to detect it. is.

Most of these security flaws have been fixed in 4G, but some tools for spoofing attacks have the ability to deliberately downgrade the connection to 2G so that it can be attacked on new smartphones as well. There is also. For this reason, EFF said, 'It can be said that users of all devices that can communicate with 2G, such as journalists, activists, medical personnel, government officials, and even police, are vulnerable.'

Here's how to disable 2G. First, select 'Network and Internet' from 'Settings'.

Then tap 'SIM'.

After that, turn off 'Allow 2G' to complete the setting.

According to a survey by EMnify, a German IoT company, three major Japanese carriers have already completely discontinued 2G provision, but some carriers such as the United States and Europe continue to provide 2G. ..

According to 'Cell Tower Distribution,' a service that visualizes base stations, 16% of all base stations in London, England are 2G-compatible base stations, and in San Francisco, USA, which has Silicon Valley, about 5% are 2G-compatible base stations. It seems that it is.

I checked the radio wave compatibility status of each country with 'Cell Tower Distribution' that visualizes radio wave base stations around the world --GIGAZINE

EFF says, 'You may not be able to properly disable 2G on older Android devices. Unfortunately, Apple does not yet support the 2G disabling feature. However, even iPhone users will post a post requesting this feature to social media. You can post. '

in Mobile,   Security, Posted by log1l_ks