Attack of the week: Voice calls in LTE

Posted on Sep 25, 2020

Attack of the week: Voice calls in LTE

I haven’t written an “attack of the week” post in a while, and it’s been bumming me out. This is not because there’s been a lack of attacks, but mostly because there hasn’t been an attack on something sufficiently widely-used that it can rouse me out of my blogging torpor. But today brings a beautiful attack called ReVoLTE, on a set of protocols that I particularly love to see get broken: namely, cellular protocols.

And specifically, the (voice over) LTE standards. I’m excited about these particular protocols — and this new attack — because it’s so rare to see actual cellular protocols and implementations get broken. This is mostly because these standards are developed in smoke-filled rooms and written up in 12,000 page documents that researchers never have the energy to deal with.

Moreover, implementing the attacks requires researchers to mess with gnarly radio protocols.