Software-defined radio global system for mobile communications transmitter development for heterogeneous network vulnerability testing
McAbee, Carson C.
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The conversion from homogeneous global system for mobile communications (GSM) networks to heterogeneous GSM/universal mobile telecommunications system (UMTS) networks is rapidly expanding. Previous research identified vulnerabilities in the GSM network that were fixed in the UMTS standard; however, the mobile device must successfully access the UMTS network to take advantage of security improvements. Therefore, a possible vulnerability not addressed in either the GSM or UMTS standards is the potential for a malicious entity to prevent a mobile device from handing over from a GSM to UMTS network, because the GSM network maintains the stand-alone dedicated control channel (SDCCH) uplink time slots. The process of testing this vulnerability requires the development of a device that monitors a GSM base transceiver station, identifies when a handover to UMTS message is sent, tracks the time slots of the SDCCH uplink, and transmits a GSM handover-failure message. In this thesis, we present an open-source coding scheme that utilizes parts of the OpenBTS source code to transmit a GSM handover-failure message using the universal software radio peripheral. The method is validated through the collection of the GSM transmitter messages by Airprobes GSM-receiver software.
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