Why NI is vital in addressing RAN threats


The cybersecurity threat landscape is always evolving, with increasing volume and types of breaches annually. This means CSPs ( Communications Service Providers )need to stay on top of these evolving threats to be better prepared for attackers lurking in the shadows. While every organization will experience some version of a breach, it is important to be prepared for when it happens, despite the fact that mobile networks are well protected against intrusions. To reduce the impact of an attack, it is critical to detect a security incident as soon as it occurs, before it gets a foothold and spreads around in an uncontrolled manner.

In this blog, we will unveil a novel way to detect false base station attacks and finally counter the threat.

What’s new with false base stations?

With telecommunication networks playing an increasingly vital part in our lives, they’ve become an obvious target for malicious actors to launch high-impact attacks. In the RAN domain, which is the most physically accessible part of mobile networks, the limited awareness of the scale and sophistication of the false base station (FBS) threat makes it attractive to malicious actors. Without adequate detection capabilities these threats will remain unknown to service providers. The malicious use of FBSs can have a high impact through techniques such as eavesdropping, tracking, identity spoofing, data and traffic modification, or denial-of-service (DoS) attacks.

The main challenges with detecting false base stations include:

Limited awareness of the scale of the threat

Current methods to detect false base stations are insufficient to understand and quantify the scale of the threat. Examples methods include user equipment (UE)-based detectors, UE applications, crowd-sourced detectors, network-based detectors not using UE measurements, and drive-test based detectors.

Lack of timely and precise detection

Manual threat detection is resource-intensive, limited in coverage (time and place), and prone to human errors and false positives. Even with specialized equipment or sophisticated software, it is hard to do timely and precise…