Light Reading

Defending the Mobile Core

Michelle Donegan
News Analysis
Michelle Donegan
2/28/2014
50%
50%

BARCELONA -- Mobile World Congress 2014 -- Network security specialist Arbor Networks this week launched a traffic analysis product designed to give mobile operators visibility into their packet core networks so that they can detect attacks and prevent potentially widespread service outages.

With the new Peakflow Mobile Network Analysis, the company has extended its Peakflow product line, which tracks and detects anomalies in traffic flows in fixed-line backbone and datacenter networks, to provide the same level of visibility into mobile operators' core networks. And when used together, operators can have visibility and threat detection across their fixed and mobile networks from one management console.

One of the biggest challenges for mobile operators when it comes to network security is the lack of traffic visibility in the packet core and radio access network, as well as real-time insight into the sources of potential attacks, according to Arbor Networks Inc.

The company points to recent research from Heavy Reading which found that 60% of mobile operators have had a network outage or service degradation lasting at least an hour due to malicious attacks. In addition, 60% of respondents said they do not have visibility into their mobile packet core infrastructure.

Heavy Reading senior analyst Patrick Donegan said in a statement: "In today's environment, no one security approach is going to prevent all malicious traffic from reaching the mobile network. And nothing is going to stop the increasingly complex mix of protocols within the network from generating anomalous traffic behaviour. Mobile operators are increasingly looking for new ways to quickly visualize, identify and reduce security risks within the packet core."


Mobile network security is one of a number of key topics that will feature at The Big Telecom Event (BTE), June 17/18 at the Sheraton Chicago Hotel and Towers.


According to Tom Bienkowski, director of product marketing at Arbor, mobile operators' networks are threatened from both sides of the packet core -- that is, network attacks can originate from the fixed-line network over the Gi and SGi interfaces that sit between the packet core and external IP networks/public Internet, or they can come from devices, through malicious malware or non-malicious signalling storms.

"Today, the majority of threats are coming from the fixed-line networks, but the emerging trend is for attacks to come from the other side of the network, through mobile malware," said Bienkowski. "That's why operators need a holistic view."

But traffic anomalies do not always indicate a malicious attack on the network. Sometimes the unusual traffic patterns can be the result of a malfunction in the network or a signalling overload from user devices.

The Peakflow Mobile Network Analysis provides a view of this signalling activity by collecting telemetry from the packet core and reporting operational and security insights. For example, the product provides detailed signalling flow behaviour between the serving GPRS support node (SGSN)/serving gateway (SGW)/ mobility management entity (MME) elements and the gateway GPRS support node (GGSN)/packet gateway (PGW) nodes, for real-time and retrospective analytics. It also detects and alerts operators to signalling message volumes, so that they can quickly identify causes.

"Whether it's malicious or not, a threat is a threat and operators need to stop it," said Bienkowski. He added that Arbor has been doing IP traffic threat detection for 13 years in the fixed-line networks, and now that mobile packet core networks are IP-based, the company can apply its expertise in mobile networks.

The Peakflow Mobile Network Analysis is currently in trials with an operator in Asia-Pacific and will soon start another trial with an operator in the Nordic region, according to Arbor.

For more coverage of these issues, check out our Mobile Security content track.

— Michelle Donegan, contributing editor, special to Light Reading


Want to learn more about this topic? Check out the agenda for The Big Telecom Event (BTE), which will take place on June 17 and 18 at the Sheraton Chicago Hotel and Towers. The event combines the educational power of interactive conference sessions devised and hosted by Heavy Reading's experienced industry analysts with multi-vendor interoperability and proof-of-concept networking and application showcases. For more on the event, the topics and the stellar service provider speaker line-up, see Telecommunication Luminaries to Discuss the Hottest Industry Trends at Light Reading's Big Telecom Event in June.


(5)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Joe Stanganelli
50%
50%
Joe Stanganelli,
User Rank: Light Sabre
2/28/2014 | 11:48:26 PM
60%!?!!
Wow.  Those are some statistics, Michelle.  Any information or insight as to how this is impacting cyber insurance policy sales?
Michelle
50%
50%
Michelle,
User Rank: Moderator
2/28/2014 | 3:11:24 PM
Tidy packets
This sounds really impressive. I'm glad to see this kind of progress being made at the packet level. Mobile malware is absolutely growing. I'm curious to know if U.S. carriers plan to take advantage of this technology to defend their networks.
mendyk
50%
50%
mendyk,
User Rank: Light Sabre
2/28/2014 | 2:21:26 PM
Blanket security
In addition to being part of BTE, mobile security actually has two dedicated LR events this year, in May (London) and December (New York). Details are in the "Upcoming Live Events" box in the right-hand column of this page. Patrick Donegan of Heavy Reading is at the forefront of the mobile security awareness movement, and he is leading all LR events in this area. Operators need to find out now what they DON'T know about mobile network security, and from what we've seen so far, they DON'T know a lot.
Carol Wilson
50%
50%
Carol Wilson,
User Rank: Blogger
2/28/2014 | 11:04:24 AM
Re: Amazing that there is so little visibilty
I'm not shocked at all - and I don't think it's a simple as a vendor issue. As Michelle's piece points out, the important thing is the holistic view and without the tools to create that, having a lot of information about how your network is performing scattered all around doesn't help you identify anomalies and potential problems/threats. 

Sometimes it's shocking there haven't been more problems...
Ray@LR
50%
50%
Ray@LR,
User Rank: Blogger
2/28/2014 | 8:22:00 AM
Amazing that there is so little visibilty
I am shocked at the lack of visibiity into the mobile packet core.... shouldn't this have been addressed by te IP router vendors?
Flash Poll
From The Founder
The New IP is actually bigger even than business. Like another hugely important tech that Light Reading is digging into right now, the New IP has the potential to change the world by fundamentally advancing what it is possible for people to achieve with communications.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
The Power of Five Convergences in OceanStor OS

3|4|15   |   6:24   |   (0) comments


OceanStor OS is Huawei's brand-new storage operating system. While inheriting the consistent high stability, reliability and performance from the company's previous storage products, OceanStor OS abounds in new converged storage features. Specifically, the new storage operating system achieves "five convergences" to lift storage convergence to a higher level.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
4K Brings Extreme Video Experience

3|4|15   |   8:10   |   (0) comments


4K video is a hot topic in the video industry. It will certainly bring an extreme video experience to end users. At the same time, however, it will also pose a big challenge to operators. Check out this Huawei 4K experts' discussion about how operators can achieve success in 4K video service.
LRTV Interviews
DT's Virtualization Vision for Europe

3|4|15   |   10:23   |   (0) comments


Light Reading CEO Steve Saunders talks virtualization, cloudification and standards with Deutsche Telekom's Axel Clauberg at Mobile World Congress.
LRTV Custom TV
ZTE's Wireline at MWC 2015

3|4|15   |   6:35   |   (0) comments


Light Reading speaks with Jane Chen, ZTE's Senior VP of Wireline Business, about innovations in her product line at Mobile World Congress.
LRTV Custom TV
ZTE at MWC 2015

3|4|15   |   4:24   |   (0) comments


Dr. Dick Chen of ZTE USA gives Light Reading an overview of what's new at ZTE's pavilion at Mobile World Congress 2015.
LRTV Interviews
Ericsson CEO Talks Telco Data Center Tech

3|4|15   |   05:45   |   (0) comments


At Mobile World Congress, Ericsson CEO Hans Vestberg discusses telco data center technology, business models, small cells and more.
Between the CEOs
EXCLUSIVE: Cisco's Chambers on Reinvention

3|3|15   |   8:24   |   (1) comment


Light Reading CEO Steve Saunders talks transformation and virtualization – including Light Reading's independent testing of the vendor's virtualization solutions – with Cisco CEO John Chambers at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.
LRTV Documentaries
The Three Cs of MWC15

3|2|15   |   2:33   |   (1) comment


My visit to this year's Mobile World Congress is going to dominated by three Cs – cloud, cells and coffee.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei Shares Its Vision of the Future of Mobile Networks Innovations

2|26|15   |   2:30   |   (0) comments


Mobile broadband is changing our lives. It's reshaping the Internet, industry, and society. It allows us to freely connect with one another anytime, anywhere. At this year's Mobile World Congress, Huawei will share its latest insights and newest ideas and technologies that will shape the future of MBB. They will showcase their end-to-end MBB solutions that will ...
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Accelerate Digitizing, Boost Digital Business

2|26|15   |   6:14   |   (0) comments


A new digital revolution is leading us to a better connected world. Together with millions of digital partners, Huawei will help CSPs to build their digital service ecosystem and aggregate a wide variety of digital services. In this video, we find out how Huawei is going to help CSPs implement digital operations.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
The Secret Recipe to Enabling Hyper-Growth Industries

2|26|15   |   3:38   |   (0) comments


With a number of successful cases on network capability exposure, Huawei is going to share the secret recipe to enabling hyper-growth markets with a step-by-step approach.
LRTV Documentaries
BTE 2015 Is Bigger & Even Better

2|25|15   |   03:13   |   (4) comments


This year's Big Telecom Event (BTE) in Chicago is going to provide more opportunities than ever for networking, getting to grips with key industry challenges and opportunities and, equally as important, having some fun.
Upcoming Live Events
March 17, 2015, The Cable Center, Denver, CO
April 14, 2015, The Westin Times Square, New York City, NY
May 12, 2015, Grand Hyatt, Denver, CO
May 13-14, 2015, The Westin Peachtree, Atlanta, GA
June 8, 2015, Chicago, IL
June 9-10, 2015, Chicago, IL
June 9, 2015, Chicago, IL
June 10, 2015, Chicago, IL
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
Net neutrality, broadband services and the current outlook on data consumption, as presented by the New Jersey Institute of Technology.
Hot Topics
Internet Pioneers Decry Title II Rules
Carol Wilson, Editor-at-large, 3/2/2015
Wheeler: We'll Enforce Title II 'Case-By-Case'
Sarah Thomas, Editorial Operations Director, 3/3/2015
New CenturyLink CTO in Major Overhaul
Carol Wilson, Editor-at-large, 3/4/2015
Verizon Takes Radio Dot to Detroit, VoLTE Overseas
Sarah Thomas, Editorial Operations Director, 2/27/2015
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
Webinar Archive
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
Check out Light Reading's interview with Jay Samit, the newly appointed CEO of publicly traded SeaChange International Inc. With a resume that includes Sony, EMI, and Universal, Samit brings a reputation as an entrepreneur and a disruptor to his new role at the video solutions company. Hear what he had to say about the opportunities in video, as well as the outlook for cable, telco, OTT and mobile service providers.