& cplSiteName &

Deutsche Telekom Aims for Security Advantage

Michelle Donegan
News Analysis
Michelle Donegan

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
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. 
Sarah Thomas
Sarah Thomas,
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
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. 
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.
Sarah Thomas
Sarah Thomas,
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/
Educational Resources
sponsor supplied content
Educational Resources Archive
Light Reading’s Upskill U is a FREE, interactive, online educational resource that delivers must-have education on themes that relate to the overall business transformation taking place in the communications industry.
Wednesday, October 26, 1:00PM EDT
Security: Tackling DDoS
Gary Sockrider, Principal Security Technologist, Arbor Networks
Friday, October 28, 1:00PM EDT
Security: The Plusses and Minuses of Open Source Software
Nick Feamster, Acting Director, Center for Information Technology Policy, Princeton University
Wednesday, November 16, 1:00PM EST
SDN 101
John Isch, Practice Director, Network & Voice, Orange Business Services
Friday, November 18, 1:00PM EST
SDN & Open Source
Christopher W. Rice, Senior Vice President of AT&T Labs, Domain 2.0 Architecture and Design
in association with:
From The Founder
Light Reading today starts a new voyage as part of a larger Enterprise.
Flash Poll
Live Streaming Video
Charting the CSP's Future
Six different communications service providers join to debate their visions of the future CSP, following a landmark presentation from AT&T on its massive virtualization efforts and a look back on where the telecom industry has been and where it's going from two industry veterans.
LRTV Custom TV
Next-Generation Technology Beyond DOCSIS 3.1

10|20|16   |     |   (0) comments

At SCTE 2016, Huawei's Liu Jianhua speaks with Alan Breznick for an exclusive interview.
LRTV Custom TV
Hybrid Video Solutions to Change TV, Change Future

10|20|16   |     |   (0) comments

At SCTE 2016, Huawei's Ian Locke speaks with Alan Breznick for an exclusive interview.
LRTV Custom TV
Huawei Future-Oriented Giga Coax Network

10|20|16   |     |   (0) comments

At SCTE 2016, Huawei's Allen Wang speaks with Alan Breznick for an exclusive interview.
LRTV Custom TV
Huawei at SCTE 2016

10|20|16   |     |   (0) comments

Join Alan Breznick of Light Reading and take a sneak peek at the Huawei booth at SCTE 2016.
LRTV Custom TV
Assuring Network Quality in a Rapidly Changing Environment

10|20|16   |     |   (0) comments

As the rate of change and complexity increases in agile networks, the importance of introducing DevOps methodologies for integrating active test and assurance solutions throughout the full service lifecycle becomes critical to ensure that customers are experiencing the service quality they demand. The industry landscape is changing, and software-based test and ...
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
A10 Networks on Service Providers' Industry Needs

10|20|16   |     |   (0) comments

Light Reading's Steve Saunders hears how A10 enables service providers to accelerate, secure and optimize their application delivery to drive down costs, enhance service availability, and better respond to customer requirements, so they can improve customer satisfaction, monetize their network, and grow revenues.
LRTV Custom TV
New NFV Use Cases for Cable TV

10|19|16   |     |   (0) comments

A large number of NFV use cases are focused on the enterprise domain, looking at virtualization of customer-premises equipment (CPE). To date, there has been little focus on the use cases and business case for virtualization of the video content delivery networks required to deliver unicast and streaming video to consumers. Amdocs commissioned Analysys Mason to ...
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
Meet the Future Workforce: New Faces, Expectations & Motivations

10|19|16   |   5:33   |   (1) comment

Millennials and their younger peers, Gen Z, expect more out of their network and more out of their work. Intel's Lynn Comp shares how the industry can prepare for this new generation of workers.
LRTV Custom TV
ZTE Global Services User Congress 2016 Highlights

10|19|16   |     |   (0) comments

ZTE held its 2nd Global Service User Conference in Dusseldorf on October 13-14. Representatives from network operators, leading industry analysts and ZTE senior expertsattended the event, exploring the best practice in managed services and the vision to transform network operations into the operations center of the future (OpCF) in the software-defined networking ...
LRTV Custom TV
Cliff Grossner on Cloud & Network Synergy From Carrier Service

10|18|16   |     |   (0) comments

Local carriers offer the collaborated cloud and network service that benefits from their understanding of the regulations operating in different vertical markets.
In this interview, Cliff Grossner from IHS Technology talks about how this advanced service can support business agility and flexibility.
LRTV Custom TV
VeEX: Live from SCTE Cable-Tec Expo 2016

10|17|16   |     |   (0) comments

Cyrille Morelle, VeEX's President and CEO, talks with Light Reading's Alan Breznick live from the SCTE Cable-Tec Expo 2016. They discuss DOCSIS 3.1 technology, deployments and early lessons learned. New products on display include the CX350s-D3.1, CX380s-D3.1, CX310, AT2500-3G, FX150 OTDR and MTT WiFI Air Expert.
LRTV Custom TV
Smith Micro's Carrier-Grade WiFi Component

10|17|16   |     |   (0) comments

Join Carol Wilson of Light Reading as she interviews the CTO of Smith Micro, Dave Sperling.
Upcoming Live Events
November 3, 2016, The Montcalm Marble Arch, London
November 30, 2016, The Westin Times Square, New York City
December 1, 2016, The Westin Times Square, New York, NY
December 6-8, 2016, The Westin Excelsior, Rome
May 16-17, 2017, Austin Convention Center, Austin, TX
All Upcoming Live Events
Hot Topics
Verizon Wants More Data on Yahoo Breach
Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, Light Reading, 10/20/2016
Attacks Have Major Internet Sites on the Ropes
Brian Santo, Senior editor, Test & Measurement / Components, Light Reading, 10/21/2016
WiCipedia: Grace Hopper Promotes Diversity, Girl Scouts Code & How to Thrive
Eryn Leavens, Special Features & Copy Editor, 10/21/2016
US Issues Total Flight Ban on Samsung Note 7
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 10/15/2016
Oh Snap! Qualcomm Unveils X50, Its First 5G Modem
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 10/17/2016
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
Join us for an in-depth interview between Steve Saunders of Light Reading and Alexis Black Bjorlin of Intel as they discuss the release of the company's Silicon Photonics platform, its performance, long-term prospects, customer expectations and much more.
There's no question that, come 2020, 5G technology will turn the world's conception of what mobile networking is on its head. Within the world of 5G development, Dr. ...
Animals with Phones
Live Digital Audio

A vital part of increasing the number of women in comms is transforming the ways companies can support and empower women. While progressive company policies that support both men and women in achieving work-life balance are a step in the right direction, creating a company culture that supports those policies can at times be more challenging.

During this show, we'll talk to Lynn Comp, Senior Director of Industry and Sales Enabling (ISE) in the Network Platforms Group at Intel, about why those challenges exist and how companies can overcome them. She'll provide insight into how Intel has worked to create a culture that supports work-life balance, and provide steps and guidance for other companies wishing to do the same. We will also leave plenty of time to get your questions answered live on the air.