LTrack: Stealthy Tracking of Cell Phones in LTE

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LTrack: Stealthy Tracking of Cell Phones in LTE

Authors: 

Martin Kotuliak, Simon Erni, Patrick Leu, Marc Röschlin, and Srdjan Čapkun, ETH Zurich

Abstract: 

We introduce LTrack, a recent tracking assault on LTE that enables an attacker to stealthily extract user devices’ locations and permanent identifiers (IMSI). To remain stealthy, the localization of devices in LTrack is fully passive, counting on our contemporary uplink/downlink sniffer. Our sniffer data each the cases of arrival of LTE messages and the contents of the Timing Reach Instructions, per which LTrack calculates locations. LTrack is the first to keep the feasibility of a passive localization in LTE through implementation on machine-outlined radio.

Passive localization assaults show a user’s enviornment traces but can at handiest link these traces to a machine’s pseudonymous non permanent identifier (TMSI), making tracking in dense areas or over a lengthy time-duration traumatic. LTrack overcomes this remark by introducing and enforcing a recent trend of IMSI Catcher named IMSI Extractor. It extracts a machine’s IMSI and binds it to its latest TMSI. In desire to counting on fake unhappy stations love existing IMSI Catchers, which are detectable attributable to their valid transmission, IMSI Extractor relies on our uplink/downlink sniffer enhanced with surgical message overshadowing. This makes our IMSI Extractor the stealthiest IMSI Catcher to this level.

We keep in thoughts LTrack through a sequence of experiments and keep that in line-of-watch conditions, the attacker can estimate the placement of a phone with out a longer up to 6m error in 90% of the cases. We efficiently tested our IMSI Extractor in opposition to a location of 17 contemporary smartphones linked to our trade-grade LTE testbed. We further validated our uplink/downlink sniffer and IMSI Extractor in a test facility of an operator.

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