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GSM operators in W/Africa highest targets for SS7 attacks –Report

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Apprehension has gripped major players in African mobile telecoms services as a new research shows that mobile operators in West Africa are the highest target for SS7 attacks on the continent.

Experts say SS7 is a set of protocols allowing phone networks to exchange the information needed for passing calls and text messages between each other and to ensure correct billing. It also enables users on one network to roam on another, when in a foreign country.

First developed in 1975, SS7 has many variants. Known as Signalling System No 7 (SS7), it is also called Common Channel Signalling System 7 (CCSS7) in the US or Common Channel Interoffice Signaling 7 (CCIS7) in the UK. It is a system that connects one mobile phone network to another.

Generator of the report, AdaptiveMobile Group, a mobile network security company, said that 39 per cent of all African operators already attacked via SS7 were in West Africa.

The research, which was conducted by company’s Threat Intelligence Unit, analysed packets sent over a four-month period, it said in a press release copied to

Besides, previous analysis from AdaptiveMobile showed a number of malicious, sophisticated platforms operating throughout the continent. New research shows that 65 per cent of all operators in this analysis were affected by location tracking attacks and 100 per cent of operators were affected by subscriber harvesting attacks, it added.

Networks use protocols defined by the American National Standards Institute and the European Telecommunications Standards Institute.


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