cell network security

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by phonewentwest, Jul 5, 2009.

  1. phonewentwest macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2008
    #1
    is sending data over the AT&T cell network, or any cell
    network, (reasonably) secure? for example logging in
    to a bank or credit card site to pay pills and such.
     
  2. diamond.g macrumors 603

    diamond.g

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2007
    Location:
    Virginia
    #2
    Not at all, actually...
     
  3. scaredpoet macrumors 604

    scaredpoet

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2007
    #3
    Sending data over any internet connection, wired or wireless, is insecure without encryption.

    That said, the reverse is also true: if you're logging into your bank or credit card site and that site uses SSL encryption, then the connection is just as secure as it would be using a wired internet connection.

    Bottom line: there is no difference in the (in)security or data sent over 3G/EDGE/any cellular data network as opposed to a wired internet connection. If you're sending stuff in the clear, it doesn't matter if you're using your cell phone or a DSL/cable modem. A determined hacker can just a easily obtain the data s/he wants from either connection if it's not sufficiently encrypted.
     
  4. fehhkk macrumors 6502a

    fehhkk

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2009
    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    #4
    Unencrypted data over a wireless cellular data network would be a little safer than over, say, a broadband connection.

    In a wireless network, your IP address tends to change quite a bit, even within the same day your phone can get assigned different IP addresses through a data session. Over broadband, it's most likely fixed.

    If you are worried about someone wiretapping your celllular connection, that is extremely complicated and requires high tech equipment.
     
  5. yg17 macrumors G5

    yg17

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2004
    Location:
    St. Louis, MO
    #5
    GSM and UMTS are encrypted, so the connection between your phone and the cell tower is encrypted, meaning no one can grab the data (or phone calls or SMS for that matter) you're sending out of the air and turn it into anything useful. Once it hits the cell tower and goes across data lines, it's just like your home broadband connection. If you're using SSL, it will remain encrypted until it hits the webserver, if not, then all bets are off.

    Using the 2G or 3G network is way more secure than using a wifi network with no network key (or WAP, which is almost as useless as no encryption at all)
     
  6. diamond.g macrumors 603

    diamond.g

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2007
    Location:
    Virginia
    #6
    Honestly that isn't entirely true. The folks I work with can grab the data being sent over the air. I used to think the same as you, until they showed me what they do. It isn't very encouraging...
     
  7. southerndoc macrumors 6502a

    southerndoc

    Joined:
    May 15, 2006
    Location:
    USA
    #7
    Does the VPN feature work over 3G connections?

    I subscribe to a VPN (Strong VPN) that works great with my laptop. Never set it up for my iPhone though.
     
  8. phonewentwest thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2008
  9. scaredpoet macrumors 604

    scaredpoet

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2007
    #9
    Yes it does.
     
  10. scaredpoet macrumors 604

    scaredpoet

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2007
    #10
    The "folks you work with" are working too hard. There are proven, easier ways for data sent in the clear to be obtained by unscrupulous people (or even slightly-but-not-much-more-scrupulous people who may or may not have search warrants) than to eavesdrop on the UMTS stream. But, to each his own...
     
  11. fehhkk macrumors 6502a

    fehhkk

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2009
    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    #11
    For that you require extremely expensive equipment. It's not like you can do it like others do cracking WEP over WiFi... You can decode cellular transmissions over the air, but its extremely expensive to do. Not worth it to do to regular citizens.
     
  12. diamond.g macrumors 603

    diamond.g

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2007
    Location:
    Virginia
    #12
    I sometimes think that our government isn't working all that hard... ;)
    True, but the potential exists (and is readily usable by our government).
     

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