Malware may pose threat to telecom equipment

Telecom equipment around the globe could be a risk from malware infection.

Malicious software is still a menace to telecom networks, capable of causing widespread ruin for customers that depend upon consistent coverage. Since operators oversee a complex array of systems that span retail stores, data centers and support portals, cybercriminals have a number of addressable attack surfaces.

Having IT deal with an incident after the fact is often costly and damaging. Accordingly, it is imperative that telecoms have software solutions that can can quickly and reliably get PCs back to a usable disk state and remove unwanted changes.

Indian government announces testing plan for telecom equipment
A recent development in the telecom industry in India illustrates the risk that malware continues to pose to operators’ systems. The Indian government announced that it would be postponing its testing of imported telecom equipment until April 1, 2014, due to several issues, including the lack of global standards for conducting such evaluations.

The tests would vet 3G and 4G base stations, mobile phones, SIM cards and customer database servers for malware. The Indian government had originally planned to begin testing on October 1, 2013, but delayed the initiative amid uncertainty about how the test lab would be set up and administered.

Officials plan to test 25 pieces of equipment, 12 of which they have classified as “high risk.” The government has called attention to threats such as manipulation of SIM card software. It is possible that the testing could lead to GSM and CDMA operators in the country being prohibited from using unsafe imported telecom equipment.

The situation in India is unusual, but the issues that it reveals are relevant to telecoms everywhere. Malware that finds its way into a data center server, support technician’s PC or sales agent’s computer can compromise business operations on multiple fronts.

To keep everything running, telecoms can depend on reboot to restore software that is easy to deploy and manage. Administrators can install it and protect all assets from untimely crashes, infections and misconfigurations. Automated reboots and workstation recovery mean that IT infrastructure is virtually indestructible and operating at full potential.

An early 2013 breach of a telecom-provided email service in Australia further underscored the importance of preparing for contingencies. A successful phishing attack may have compromised a portion of the service’s approximately 500,000 accounts. Users were advised to reset passwords to avoid having messages sent without their consent.

Scott Cornell

When he’s not knee deep in blogging and all things tech, Scott spends his free time playing ultimate Frisbee and watching foreign films. An expert in emerging tech trends, Scott always has his ear to ground for breaking news related to IT security.