Privacy in LTE networks

Siddharth Rao, Bhanu Teja Kotte, Silke Holtmanns

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionScientificpeer-review


Ever since the public revelation of global surveillance and the exploits targeting the mobile communication backend, the general awareness of user privacy in telecommunication industry has increased. Misusing the technical features of mobile core network technology - specifically the Signalling System 7 (SS7) has disclosed numerous ways to locate the mobile users and intercept the voice calls or text messages. These events had led the mobile network operator to focus more on protecting the privacy of user meta-data and signaling communication.

With relatively more security and privacy features, Diameter protocol - the successor of SS7 in Long Term Evolution (LTE) networks are believed to guarantee more protection to end-users. In this paper, we argue that the default considerations of Diameter are not sufficient enough to offer privacy to the mobile user, particularly when it comes to location tracking. We will discuss the possibilities of the persistence of location tracking attacks from SS7 to Diameter. We also recommend the mobile network operators to review their security mechanisms based on the countermeasures that we present. In short, this paper provides a comprehensive overview of Diameter protocol to claim – Without the appropriate measures, the Diameter-based LTE networks are as vulnerable as SS7-based GSM networks at least in terms of location tracking.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMobiMedia '16 Proceedings of the 9th EAI International Conference on Mobile Multimedia Communications
Place of PublicationXi'an, China
PublisherInstitute for Computer Sciences, Social-Informatics and Telecommunications Engineering (ICST)
Number of pages8
ISBN (Print)978-1-63190-104-1
Publication statusPublished - 18 Jun 2016
MoE publication typeA4 Article in a conference publication
EventEAI International Conference on Mobile Multimedia Communications - TangCheng Hotel , Xi'an, China
Duration: 18 Jun 201619 Jun 2016
Conference number: 9


ConferenceEAI International Conference on Mobile Multimedia Communications
Abbreviated titleMobiMedia


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