Tethering not secure because GSM has been cracked?

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by Sirolway, May 10, 2012.

  1. Sirolway macrumors 6502

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    #1
    OK so I use my laptop in cafes using the internet connection provided by tethering to my iPhone (on Three in the UK).
    I was all smug that I'm using a secure, private network, rather than a cafe WiFi hotspot, but then decided to google the security of tethering & found this article saying that basically it's not secure as the security in GSM was designed ages ago & has been cracked

    What are people's views on...

    a. The security of a tethered connection for things like online banking

    b. Practical suggestions for how to get a secure connection in public

    hmm...
     
  2. outphase macrumors 65816

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    #2
    I would feel more comfortable banking tethering to my phone than using public wifi.
     
  3. Sirolway thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #3
    Agreed - I think public WiFi has to be the least preferable option.

    At work, I even call it 'The Starbucks test;' any mobile app we think of has to be secure enough that our staff could use it over unsecured public WiFi in a cafe without any exposure to us ...

    I had figured that tethering was an elegant & secure solution, but it looks like I shouldn't be too relaxed with it...
     
  4. itsmemuffins macrumors 68030

    itsmemuffins

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  5. Sirolway thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #5
    Care to elaborate? :)

    I have an iPhone on the Three network in the UK, which is on 3G
    So I'm tethering my laptop to that (3G) mobile connection ...

    Seems like 3G to me ...
     
  6. ljonesj macrumors 6502a

    ljonesj

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    #6
    there are at least two types of 3g i am use to gsm aka at&t and cdma aka verizon here in the states so 3g can mean anything that meets the 3g standards
     
  7. Sirolway thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #7
    Well pretty much all (completely all?) Europe is on GSM (the GSM standard originated in Europe) & I know I'm on GSM

    So yes, I *am* using GSM ...
    :)

    I know the US has had some ''''interesting'''' mobile telephony standards in the past. In Europe, we were lucky to get a good standard agreed early (think we thank the French for this one)...
     
  8. Xgm541 macrumors 6502a

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    #8
    Come on guys, put away the tin foil hats. Nobody is going to target YOU and specifically YOU when it comes to this. I have yet to hear anyone being hacked because someone stole their data via tethering. By your logic I should not talk on my phone either cause someone could be listening by intercepting and cracking the signal? You're likely okay...
     
  9. Sirolway thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #9
    lol
    You're absolutely right
    I shall park my paranoia ;-)
     
  10. smithrh macrumors 68020

    smithrh

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    Feb 28, 2009
    #10
    GSM = a voice-only standard created in the early 90s

    Unfortunately, a lot of people stick the GSM tag onto a lot of things that have nothing to do with GSM.

    EDGE is not GSM.

    UMTS is not GSM.

    HSPA is not GSM.

    HSUPA, HSDPA and HSPA+ are not GSM.

    LTE is not GSM.

    If you are using 3G data, you are most assuredly not using GSM. If you are talking on a 3G network, you are not using GSM either.
     
  11. Sirolway thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #11
    Oh well alright - I stand (sit) corrected
     
  12. smithrh macrumors 68020

    smithrh

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    #12
    My point is this - while GSM was indeed cracked some time ago, that has no bearing on what you're using today.

    You can relax - for now. :D
     
  13. Sirolway thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #13
    Ah
    Yes
    Good point

    Wonder what I am using ...
     
  14. smithrh macrumors 68020

    smithrh

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    #14
    Generically, UMTS.
     
  15. Daveoc64 macrumors 601

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    Bristol, UK
    #15
    Both EDGE and GPRS can both form part of a GSM network, so that's not entirely true.

    If you tether on a 2G network, then you'd be using GSM.

    I'm not sure how the security issues with GSM relate to packet data connections though*

    *Quick update: from what I've seen, it looks like the vulnerability in the cipher applies to all GSM communication (including GPRS and EDGE data).
     
  16. chakraj macrumors 65816

    chakraj

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    #16
    Yes thats right, that would be as ludicrous as someone stealing your iphone, or ipad, or wallet, or computer, or your car, or your purse. Come on you conspiracy theorists, you really think someone is going to target you and steal your stuff, be real no one steals now a days. Thats just crazy, no one does anything illegal, and especially not to you, you guys are just paranoid.

    Actually I usually leave my computer and ipad in my unlocked car with the keys in it and the door open, and my bank card with the password written on it on my dash board along with all of my credit cards. Why should I be paranoid?

    And Identity theft is just made up, there is no such thing in real life, your data is perfectly safe.
     
  17. Spectrum Abuser macrumors 65816

    Spectrum Abuser

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    #17
    You're using UMTS. Not GSM.
     
  18. Daveoc64 macrumors 601

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    #18
    Oops. Totally didn't notice that the OP is on Three (like me!).

    Three doesn't have a GSM network of its own. It only offers limited use of the Orange GSM (2G) network in areas where it doesn't have its own coverage.

    Even if you're in one of those areas, they don't allow data usage on it anyway.
     
  19. reclusive46 macrumors 65816

    reclusive46

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    Location:
    Canada
    #19
    3G is the UMTS/WCDMA standard. Its different from GSM. You never go onto 2G GSM on 3 UK (Unless roaming onto Orange).
     
  20. Xgm541 macrumors 6502a

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    #20
    I carry all my devices attached to my limbs through security locks in case somebody wants to steal them from me. All my wireless communications devices are wrapped in foil and whenever I want to talk to someone we talk in our own made up dialect so nobody can understand. My car comes with two sets of locks on each door and I make sure it is air-tight so nobody steals the air inside of it too. I also wear a mask everywhere so nobody steals my identity. Whenever I set up an account I smash the keys on my keyboard so that even I can't remember the password in case terrorists torture me for it, because them reading my email is essential to their operations.

    I think there is a difference between being simply stupid about leaving devices out in the open or browsing a secure site over a cell network.
     
  21. chiefpavvy macrumors 6502a

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    Feb 23, 2008
    #21
    TIN FOIL!

    Now if you are really serious about protecting the security and integrity of a data connection, you would be using a paid VPN provider on BOTH public WiFi and cellular data connections. They aren't that expensive and are easy to set up.

    Cellular data is "safer" than a public Wi-Fi hotspot, no doubt there. But it isn't bulletproof.
     

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