Light Reading
Arbor extends its network security reach into the packet core.

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  | 
Oldest First  |  Newest First  |  Threaded View
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?
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...
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.
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.
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?
Flash Poll
From The Founder
It's clear to me that the communications industry is divided into two types of people, and only one is living in the real world.
LRTV Interviews
CenturyLink: Building the Case for NFV

12|19|14   |   02:14   |   (0) comments


At the 2020 Vision Executive Summit, James Feger, VP, Network Strategy & Development at CenturyLink, talks about how the US operator is approaching virtual network functions from an operational and business case perspective.
LRTV Interviews
Liberty Global Sees Business Goldmine

12|18|14   |     |   (0) comments


Steen Sorensen, VP of business services for Liberty Global, explains where the giant international MSO sees growth potential.
LRTV Documentaries
EE: The Road to 5G

12|16|14   |   16:02   |   (1) comment


Andy Sutton, the principal network architect at UK mobile operator EE, explains how his company is using Wembley stadium as a wireless test bed and how that's helping EE to plan the evolution to 5G.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Highlights of Huawei's NFV Open Cloud Forum 2014

12|16|14   |     |   (0) comments


Huawei hosted its inaugural NFV Open Cloud Forum during the SDN & OpenFlow World Congress 2014 in Düsseldorf, Germany. The Forum brought together technology thought leaders, senior executives and telecom professionals from global carriers, industry associations, as well as other partner companies in the ecosystem, to exchange views on and collectively explore how ...
LRTV Custom TV
Realizing Operators' Digital Vision

12|16|14   |   5:23   |   (0) comments


Leveraging technology is fundamental to digital transformation but understanding customers and serving them really well is at the heart of digital businesses. TM Forum lists the following as the strategic pillars of the digital business: business agility and rapid innovation, operational agility and effectiveness, IT and data centricity, plus customer centricity. ...
LRTV Documentaries
US Cellular Injects Analytics Into LTE

12|16|14   |   2:57   |   (1) comment


US Cellular's Mario Vela explains how the operator uses analytics for network planning and what comes next as the carrier looks to eke more value out of its metrics.
LRTV Interviews
How Cox Biz Plans to Keep Growing

12|15|14   |     |   (2) comments


Steve Rowley, SVP of Cox Business, details how the third-biggest US MSO intends to boost its revenues to $2 billion and beyond over the rest of the decade
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Interview With Bill Zhang, Director of SoftCOM Product Management, Huawei

12|15|14   |   2:50   |   (0) comments


Bill Zhang elaborated on Huawei's open philosophy in NFV solution development and network architecture design at the SDN & OpenFlow World Congress 2014.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Event Highlights: Huawei at SDN & OpenFlow World Congress 2014

12|15|14   |   3:43   |   (0) comments


Huawei joined the 2014 SDN & OpenFlow Congress as one of the key sponsors and contributors. At the event, Huawei reinforced the openness and flexibility of its network infrastructure strategies, and provided updates on its SDN and NVF innovations. Through participations at the exhibitions, forums and speeches, Huawei encouraged the industry to "think bigger and ...
LRTV Interviews
How Cable Biz Services Hit $10B Mark

12|12|14   |     |   (1) comment


Cable operators reached $10 billion in annual business services revenues by delving deeper into their vertical markets and expanding beyond the smallest firms.
LRTV Documentaries
Mediacom Aims to Test Connected Tractors

12|11|14   |   05:07   |   (3) comments


Cable business service provider is taking its services to the 'agribusiness' sector in partnership with farm equipment specialist John Deere and is getting involved in Gigabit Cities developments.
LRTV Interviews
TWC Business Looks Beyond $3B

12|10|14   |     |   (0) comments


TWC Business Services chief Phil Meeks explains how his unit has reached $3 billion in annual revenues and what its plans are for next year.
Upcoming Live Events
February 10, 2015, The Westin Peachtree Plaza, Atlanta, GA
March 17, 2015, The Cable Center, Denver, CO
April 14, 2015, The Westin Times Square, New York City, NY
May 6, 2015, McCormick Convention Center, Chicago, IL
May 13-14, 2015, The Westin Peachtree, Atlanta, GA
June 9-10, 2015, Chicago, IL
Hot Topics
T-Mobile, BlackBerry Flirt With Reuniting
Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, 12/17/2014
1-Gig: Coming to a Small Town Near You
Jason Meyers, Senior Editor, Gigabit Cities/IoT, 12/17/2014
Comcast Launches 4K Streaming Service
Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, 12/18/2014
US Carriers, You're Going to Cuba!
Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading, 12/18/2014
T-Mobile Lights Up 27 Wideband LTE Cities
Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, 12/15/2014
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
Webinar Archive