Android Users can Disable 2G to Protect From Stingrays or IMSI Catchers

The EEF (Electronic Frontier Foundation) has recently claimed that a new feature has been added to Android quietly by Google. But, you might be wondering what new feature?

Google added a new option to its Android OS that enables the users to disable 2G in their phones at the modem level. While presumably, this new feature will arrive in new-gen smartphones.

Between the tower and the device, 2G uses weak encryption that in real-time can be bypassed by the hacker to preclude the following things:-

  • Calls
  • Text messages

Now after Google, it’s time for Apple to implement this feature for the security of the iPhone and iPad users around the globe.

What is 2G and how its disability will protect users?

If you don’t know what is 2G then let me keep it straight and simple, it’s a communication standard, and 2G stands for the second generation of communication standard.

So, currently, it’s totally an outdated communication standard and it is also known as GSM as well. At this moment, the advanced version of 2G is:-

  • 3G (Third Generation Communication Standard)
  • 4G (Fourth Generation Communication Standard)
  • 5G (Fifth Generation Communication Standard)

However, the deployment of 3G, 4G, and 5G have broadly fixed all the worst vulnerabilities that exist in the 2G communication standard.

Moreover, to make your smartphone susceptible to the above attacks, the advanced cell-site simulators that are also known as Stingrays or IMSI catchers can downgrade your connection to 2G.

How to protect yourself now?

As we told this feature will arrive in the newest Android models, so, the users who will own the new-gen smartphones will have this feature through which users can disable the 2G network. In short, if you own an old Android phone then you will not be able to activate this feature.

Here’s how to disable 2G:-

  • Go to Settings
  • Then select the “Network & Internet” option.
  • Then select the “SIMs.”
  • Now you have to select the Allow 2G.
  • After that select the setting off.

While after implementation of this feature EFF has strongly recommended big players to subsidize more aids to develop radio security, and here are the brands:-

  • Google
  • Apple
  • Samsung

But, it doesn’t mean that 2G will be abandoned since it’s not the exact option to perform yet, as rural areas still users rely on the 2G networks.

In short, though the new-gen smartphones will allow users to disable the 2G network, they will not uproot the 2G communication standard.

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Guru is an Ex-Security Engineer at Comodo Cybersecurity. Co-Founder - Cyber Security News & GBHackers On Security.


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