Light Reading

Deutsche Telekom Aims for Security Advantage

Michelle Donegan
News Analysis
Michelle Donegan
4/15/2014
50%
50%

Long before anyone knew who Edward Snowden was, Deutsche Telekom had been one of the most vocal and active telecom operators on network security and data privacy issues. Now the operator wants to turn its security experience into a service advantage.

Deutsche Telekom AG (NYSE: DT) was one of the first operators to implement IPSec in its LTE networks, ahead of operators in South Korea and the US, and it also led the way with deploying the latest A5/3 encryption standard in all its mobile networks in Germany.

The revelation of extensive US government surveillance activities was an extra impetus for Deutsche Telekom to bang the security drum even louder. For an operator that is still 32% owned by the German government (the state directly owns 14.5% of the company and state-owned bank KfW owns 17.4%), the allegation that even Chancellor Angela Merkel's mobile phone was being monitored is a mighty big deal. So much so that the company is the chief proponent of the controversial proposal to create what it calls an "Internet of Short Distances," in which Internet traffic with senders and receivers in Europe (specifically, the Schengen Area) stays in Europe. (See Euronews: Merkel Moots US Data Bypass and Euronews: Prism a Wake-up Call, Says DT.)

But one of the results of Snowden's revelations is greater awareness among the general public about privacy and security. And that's what Deutsche Telekom is hoping to tap into with new products and services that are aimed at alleviating the growing security concerns of its customers.

"As we see a much higher sensitivity for security issues among our customers, we are convinced that we can make data privacy and security a unique selling point," says Thomas Tschersich, senior vice president technical security at Deutsche Telekom, in an emailed reply to Light Reading.

To that end, the operator has started offering an encrypted e-mail service through the "E-mail Made in Germany" initiative. It has also been working with Mozilla for the last year on a project called "Future of Mobile Privacy," whereby the Firefox OS is customized so that users can individually define their privacy settings and determine their level of data protection. Users can decide how much location data is given to app vendors, for instance. Some of these types of functions will be embedded in upcoming versions of the OS, although the operator did not specify when the features would be available.

And judging from the operator's showing at last month's CeBIT technology fair in Hanover, Germany, there are more security services and devices up its sleeve, including early warning systems for customers; the CipherCloud encryption tool for enterprises to protect their data before it is sent to the cloud; a malware protection app for smartphones, a so-called "two-sphere" smartphone that operates in either a secure, closed mode, or open mode, an encryption app for business users; as well as the "SiMKo3" super-secure smartphone that has a security level of "Classified -- for official use only" as certified by the Federal Office for Information Security (BSI).

"We've made security a design principle," says Tschersich. "We integrate security and privacy into the early stage of the product and system development."

Attacks arise everywhere; no need to panic
When it comes to the day-to-day task of defending its networks, Tschersich explains that DT has a Security Dashboard that monitors output from 180 sensors -- so-called "honeypots" -- that it has deployed worldwide in order to attract attacks onto systems that are isolated from its actual network infrastructure. In this way, the operator can monitor the risk situation on the Internet.

According to Tschersich, the Security Dashboard shows that attacks arrives from all over the globe.

"They appear every second, daily up to 800,000 times," he says. "The latest novelty in trends is the rising number of attacks against smartphones."

Using its sensor network, DT simulated a "jailbroken" iPhone (that is, an iPhone without security limitations, he explains) that was connected to the sensor network. The iPhone was attacked 300,000 times per year, and once per day with success, according to Tschersich, with attackers trying to extract contact information from the address book.

Tschersich said that the main reasons for all attacks are outdated software products.

"Too many users still don't consider their smartphones as high performance devices which have to be protected like the computer at home," he says. "There's no need to panic, though: 90% of the attacks can be averted successfully through properly maintained, updated systems."

— Michelle Donegan, contributing editor, Light Reading

(5)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
Mitch Wagner
50%
50%
Mitch Wagner,
User Rank: Lightning
4/16/2014 | 4:32:49 PM
Re: DT's heartbleed
SarahReedy - Still, it's a marketing failure. If you just had a plane crash, it's a bad time to advertise based on safety, even if your overall safety record is good. 
SarahReedy
50%
50%
SarahReedy,
User Rank: Blogger
4/15/2014 | 6:22:42 PM
Re: DT's heartbleed
Or smart marketing to divert attention from the fact that he works for T-Systems, a DT division. He didn't work for DT when it happened though, and he was working to protect the platform, so it's possible the two are entirely unrelated. Timing seems suspect though.
Mitch Wagner
50%
50%
Mitch Wagner,
User Rank: Lightning
4/15/2014 | 5:25:37 PM
Re: DT's heartbleed
I see this as less a matter of trying to get ahead of the Heartbleed issue, and more a marketing failure. If one of your engineers released the worst vulnerability in the history of the Internet, now's not the time to tout your own security. 
Phil_Britt
50%
50%
Phil_Britt,
User Rank: Light Sabre
4/15/2014 | 2:39:30 PM
Re: DT's heartbleed
Could be a little quick covering by DT, which is a lot smarter than trying to hide the Heartbleed issue and having someone else uncover it. But Hearbleed notwithstanding, anything that can aid privacy these days is welcome.
SarahReedy
50%
50%
SarahReedy,
User Rank: Blogger
4/15/2014 | 12:47:12 PM
DT's heartbleed
Hmm. DT's messaging is kind of funny coming at the same time it was revealed that hte programmer who (accidentially) caused the Heartbleed bug works at DT now... http://www.4-traders.com/DEUTSCHE-TELEKOM-AG-444661/news/Deutsche-Telekom--Programmer-Says-Flub-Not-Ill-Intent-Behind-Heartbleed-Bug-18247889/
From The Founder
Against the odds, Huawei is growing its telecoms networking equipment business in the US -- that should be ringing some alarm bells for domestic vendors.
Flash Poll
Live Streaming Video
CLOUD / MANAGED SERVICES: Prepping Ethernet for the Cloud
Moderator: Ray LeMaistre Panelists: Jeremy Bye, Leonard Sheahan
Between the CEOs
CEO Chat With Jeff Miller, ActiveVideo

8|28|15   |   19:05   |   (0) comments


Jeff Miller, President and CEO of ActiveVideo, talks to Light Reading founder and CEO Steve Saunders about the impact of virtualization on the TV and video distribution market.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Vodafone: Mobile Money Is About Customer Trust

8|27|15   |   06.36   |   (0) comments


Light Reading spoke with Vodafone's Ian Ravenscroft about the unique responsibilities and opportunities facing operators handling customers' financial transactions over the network.
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
Palo Alto Networks on Expanding in the Carrier/Service Provider Market

8|26|15   |   07:54   |   (0) comments


Alfred Lee from Palo Alto Networks tells Steve Saunders about their new chassis-based system, the PA-7080, and how it can benefit service providers compared to legacy firewalls.
LRTV Custom TV
Global Services Forum Preview

8|25|15   |   02:36   |   (0) comments


Light Reading's CEO and Founder Steve Saunders talks about Huawei's upcoming Global Services Forum with the help of Heavy Reading's Patrick Donegan and Teresa Mastrangelo.
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
Infoblox on DNS Threat Index

8|19|15   |   04:39   |   (0) comments


Dilip Pillaipakam from Infoblox talks to Steve Saunders about his company's core network services.
Between the CEOs
CEO Chat With Ihab Tarazi, Equinix

8|14|15   |   20:18   |   (1) comment


Equinix CTO Ihab Tarazi talks to Light Reading founder and CEO Steve Saunders about the dramatic changes in the data center, cloud and interconnect markets and discusses the impact of SDN and NFV in the coming years.
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
The Netformx Ecosystem

8|14|15   |   09:39   |   (1) comment


Ittai Bareket, CEO of Netformx, talks with Steve Saunders about the Netformx Ecosystem, which employs cutting-edge prescriptive analytics to help solution providers maximize profits.
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
Versa Networks on Leveraging VNFs

8|12|15   |   07:37   |   (0) comments


Kumar Mehta, founder and CEO of stealth mode startup Versa Networks, talks with Steve Saunders about how providers can best leverage virtualized network functions (VNFs).
LRTV Custom TV
Transforming the Network Through OPNFV

8|5|15   |   7:09   |   (0) comments


Sandra Rivera, VP Data Center Group; GM Network Platforms Group, Intel Corporation, on OPNFV Arno and how the industry is coming together to accelerate the deployment of NFV and transform the network.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei ONS Product Demo

8|3|15   |   6:01   |   (0) comments


Huawei shows at Open Networking Summit 2015 in Santa Clara how its SDN and NFV solutions embrace openness.
LRTV Custom TV
End-User or Enterprise Benefits to the New IP

7|30|15   |   04:27   |   (1) comment


Andrew Coward discusses what the New IP means to end users or enterprise customers. He explains compelling reasons, including how every customer can get their own network, from the transformation to the New IP.
LRTV Custom TV
Network Visibility & the New IP

7|30|15   |   02:23   |   (0) comments


Mukund Srigopal provides an explanation of what network visibility is and how it is essential as service providers transition to the New IP. In addition, the importance of the network packet broker is discussed.
Upcoming Live Events
September 16-17, 2015, The Westin Galleria Dallas, Dallas, TX
September 16, 2015, The Westin Galleria Dallas, Dallas, TX
September 16, 2015, The Westin Galleria Dallas, Dallas, TX
September 29-30, 2015, The Westin Grand Müchen, Munich, Germany
October 14-15, 2015, New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, New Orleans, LA
November 5, 2015, Hilton Santa Clara, Santa Clara, CA
November 17, 2015, Santa Clara, California
December 1, 2015, The Westin Times Square, New York City
December 2, 2015, The Westin Times Square, New York City
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
Cisco's cloud and virtualization portfolio can increase business agility and innovation by building a more flexible network architecture.
Hot Topics
Verizon Hums a Driving Tune
Sarah Thomas, Editorial Operations Director, 8/26/2015
Gogo Approved to Speed Up In-Flight WiFi
Sarah Thomas, Editorial Operations Director, 8/24/2015
Could Market Volatility Hurt Tech IPOs?
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 8/24/2015
Sprint's Claure: '3 to 5 Years' to Turnaround
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 8/25/2015
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
September 22, 2015
Media Begins With “Me”
Webinar Archive
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
Jeff Miller, President and CEO of ActiveVideo, talks to Light Reading founder and CEO Steve Saunders about the impact of virtualization on the TV and video distribution market.
Equinix CTO Ihab Tarazi talks to Light Reading founder and CEO Steve Saunders about data center, cloud and the impact of virtualization in the coming years.
Cats with Phones
Cats Are a Smartphone's Best Friend Click Here
Whoever said cats didn't live to please their humans?