🎁 'Tis the season to support public service journalism Donate Now

Turns out your mobile data is not very secure

John Moe Aug 10, 2011

Stop the presses! But we’re radio and don’t have presses! Buy some presses and then start them and stop them! We don’t have budget for that!

Hackers can intercept your mobile data. Security researcher Karsten Nohl plans to reveal his research Wednesday at a conference in Germany of the Chaos Computer Club. Using an old Motorola phone, Nohl was able to intercept and decrypt data traveling on international broadband networks within about a 3 mile radius. From the Times: “The interceptor phone was used to test networks in Germany, Italy and other European countries that Mr. Nohl declined to identify. In Germany, Mr. Nohl said he was able to decrypt and read data transmissions on all four mobile networks — T-Mobile, O2 Germany, Vodafone and E-Plus. He described the level of encryption provided by operators as ‘weak.'”

For his part, Nohl told the times he just wants carriers to beef up security and he destroyed all the data he intercepted. There’s about a 3 month period between when Nohl releases the software hackers would need to intercept data and when the hackers can actually get at the data; Nohl says he hopes that’s enough time for carriers to take care of the problem.

There’s a lot happening in the world.  Through it all, Marketplace is here for you. 

You rely on Marketplace to break down the world’s events and tell you how it affects you in a fact-based, approachable way. We rely on your financial support to keep making that possible. 

Your donation today powers the independent journalism that you rely on. For just $5/month, you can help sustain Marketplace so we can keep reporting on the things that matter to you.