VICTORY: Google Releases “disable 2g” Feature for New Android Smartphones

    Final 12 months Google quietly pushed a brand new function to its Android working system permitting customers to optionally disable 2G on the modem stage of their telephones. It is a implausible function that may present some safety from cell website simulators, an invasive police surveillance expertise employed all through the nation. We applaud Google for implementing this a lot wanted function. Now Apple must implement this function as effectively, for the security of their clients. 

    What’s 2G and why is it weak?
    2G is the second era of cell communications, created in 1991. It’s an outdated expertise from a time when requirements our bodies didn’t account for sure danger eventualities reminiscent of rogue cell towers and the necessity for sturdy encryption. As years have passed by, many vulnerabilities have been found in 2G.

    There are two predominant issues with 2G. First, it makes use of weak encryption between the tower and machine that may be cracked in actual time by an attacker to intercept calls or textual content messages. The truth is, the attacker can do that passively with out ever transmitting a single packet. The second downside with 2G is that there is no such thing as a authentication of the tower to the telephone, which implies that anybody can seamlessly impersonate an actual 2G tower and a telephone utilizing the 2G protocol won’t ever be the wiser. 

    Cell-site simulators typically work this fashion. They will exploit safety flaws in 2G with the intention to intercept your communications. Although most of the safety flaws in 2G have been mounted in 4G, extra superior cell-site simulators can downgrade your connection to 2G, making your telephone prone to the above assaults. This makes each consumer weak—from journalists and activists to medical professionals, authorities officers, and even legislation enforcement.

    What you are able to do to guard your self now
    When you’ve got a more recent Android telephone (reminiscent of a Pixel, or newer Samsung telephone) you possibly can disable 2G proper now by going to Settings > Community & Web > SIMs > Permit 2G and turning that setting off. 

    Right here by default 2G is enabled. 

    Now 2G is disabled
    When you’ve got an older Android telephone, these steps might or might not work. Sadly on account of limitations of outdated {hardware}, Google was solely in a position to implement this function on newer telephones. When you’ve got a more recent Samsung telephone you might also have the ability to shut off 2G help the identical approach, sadly this isn’t supported on all networks or all Samsung telephones. For iPhone house owners sadly Apple doesn’t help this function, however you possibly can tweet at them to demand it!

    Take action

    Inform apple: Allow us to flip off 2G!

    We’re very happy with the steps that Google has taken right here to guard customers from vulnerabilities in 2G, and although there’s much more work to be completed it will be certain that many individuals can lastly obtain a primary stage of safety. We strongly encourage Google, Apple, and Samsung to take a position extra sources into radio safety to allow them to higher defend smartphone house owners.

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