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Cellular security: better, but foes still lurk

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Service providers have largely solved the cellular phone cloning problem through application of technology, but it has been replaced by other problems: subscription fraud (the same problem that bedevils issuers of credit cards) and the misapplication of service provider subsidies on handsets. Subscription fraud has several forms: pretending to be another, real person; pretending to be a nonexistent person; and even just being yourself and pretending you intend to pay your bill. Subsidy fraud involves taking a phone whose cost has been heavily subsidized by a cellular carrier and activating it on a different carrier's network. Solutions to these problems exist. As the practice of conducting serious business over the Internet continues to grow, other security issues will arise. In particular someone conducting business on a cell phone needs to be confident of the identity of the other instrument's user. The technical solutions discussed, like RF fingerprinting and authentication, do a good job of guaranteeing that the handset is what it claims to be, but they guarantee nothing about the person using it. Several approaches are being pursued to user identification

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Spectrum, IEEE  (Volume:37 ,  Issue: 6 )