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Detecting false base stations in mobile networks

3GPP standardization takes yet another step to combat false base stations. The security group in 3GPP (called SA3) identified that radio condition information received from devices – which is an integral part of all generations of mobile networks (2G/3G/4G/5G) – could contain fingerprints of false base stations. SA3 has described a solid framework based on this information, enabling mobile networks to reliably detect such false base stations. The framework complements other mechanisms introduced in 5G to protect users against false base stations, for example encrypted long-term identifiers and fresh short-term identifiers. This blog post outlines the framework and describes some practical experiments we have performed in our lab.

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