For over a year, a hidden Tor service has been enabling its buyers to access text messages on the telecom sector’s private SS7 network.
An ‘interconnector’ service has been up on Tor for well over a year now (url: zkkc7e5rwvs4bpxm.onion). For a relatively modest $500 a month (for what it offers) the malicious hackers pocketing the money will exploit known vulnerabilities that could be expanded to intercept texts, zero in in on the location of any individual phone on the network and even cut off its cellular service completely.
Since SS7 is a closed network, compared to say – the internet, only a handful of telecom companies have access to the network. Since it isn’t populated, only a few meagre authentication systems exist once a user enters the network.
The monthly subscription charges include $250 for intercepting texts and calls, according to the Verge. For $150, a buyer gets cellphone reports that includes location data and IMSI numbers. Full access for $500 and those who pay $5,500 gain full access to the vulnerable SS7 port.
One customer, in communication with The Verge, claimed he or she was ignored by the Tor website’s manager after paying that full amount and did not gain access to the SS7 dashboard. The site’s manager, speaking to the publication, offered a free page to test its service, with limited access to the website.
According to the site’s manager, who goes by the moniker ‘Interconnect0r’, gaining access to SS7 wasn’t particularly hard, despite regularly being interrupted by the phone companies.
It’s easier than you think. It’s difficult to wrap your mind around how [easy], unless you’ve got the right guidance, or stumble upon the right information.
It’s alarming to be sure, the ease in which an individual’s personal mobile device could be snooped in to.
A letter sent to Homeland Secretary John Kerry addresses these concerns, calling for telecom companies to do better in securing their cyber infrastructure.
“We are deeply concerned that the security of America’s telecommunications infrastructure is not getting the attention it deserves,” the letter reads. “Most americans simply have no idea how easy it is for a relatively sophisticated adversary to track their movements, tap their calls, and hack their smartphones.”
Image credit: Pixabay.