UPDATE 1-UN warns on mobile cybersecurity bugs in bid to prevent attacks

Sun Jul 21, 2013 1:37pm EDT
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* UN's ITU to issue advisory to nearly 200 nations

* Advisory is on risk identified by German researchers

* Researchers develop remote attack on mobile SIM cards

* Researchers say at least 500 million phones vulnerable

By Jim Finkle

BOSTON, July 21 (Reuters) - A United Nations group that advises nations on cybersecurity plans to send out an alert about significant vulnerabilities in mobile phone technology that could potentially enable hackers to remotely attack at least half a billion phones.

The bug, discovered by German firm, allows hackers to remotely gain control of and also clone certain mobile SIM cards.

Hackers could use compromised SIMs to commit financial crimes or engage in electronic espionage, according to Berlin's Security Research Labs, which will describe the vulnerabilities at the Black Hat hacking conference that opens in Las Vegas on July 31.

The U.N.'s Geneva-based International Telecommunications Union, which has reviewed the research, described it as "hugely significant."   Continued...