The world’s first GSM phone call was placed on July 1, 1991, when Finnish prime minister Harri Holkeri called Kaarina Suonio, mayor of Tampere city. Almost 21 years later Germany’s Security Research Labs has found that there’s a major security flaw in the system.
According to researchers, an attacker could gain remote control of GSM phones and send text messages or place calls. Billions of people are using GSM technology which accounts for more than 80% of the global market. The vulnerability discovered could expose each and every one of these devices and could affect “hundreds of thousands of phones in a short timeframe”, said Karsten Nohl, head of Germany’s Security Research Labs, at a Berlin hacking convention.
The hacking method through which phones can be forced to remotely call or text premium services — leading to heart-attack monthly bills — was not disclosed by Karsten Nohl. However, according to the researcher, hackers could easily replicate the code leading to the vulnerability in a couple of weeks. Anyone feeling like crossing their fingers for a quick system fix?