A lot of SMS text messages are sent each month. According to the GSM Association, “SMS as we know it will be used to the year 2005 at least, since the phones, infrastructure, specifications, market development, and awareness are in place today. ” There are a number of reasons for the growth of SMS to this point, but also a number of obstacles to be overcome if growth is to continue. Not surprisingly, security is one of those challenges. SMS is no more secure than other wireless communications, but can pose more of a threat because it is embedded in services where people don’t expect to find it.
It has become commonplace, in situations where placement of a plain old telephone system (POTS) line to vendors is impractical, to send the purchaser’s credit card information via SMS to a central location for authorization. Today, almost every major cellular provider around the world provided SMS. This service allows cellular phone subscribers to receive short text messages consisting various sizes around 160-180 characters. SMS has also been developed for use on most other major wireless networks (Nichols and Lekkas).
While security is being applied to SMS data, wireless represents a unique challenge in that, given the right equipment; the wireless signal could be intercepted and/or modified far more easily than through the use of a conventional POTS line. If users are aware of the level of security that might be a point in favor, however, without the awareness that true encryption is not being used, SMS subscribers are likely to transmit sensitive information which they might not otherwise disclose (Peikari and Fogie). Infrared Technology (IrDA)
IrDA means Infrared Data Association, which is regularly managed by one more of the earlier discussed technologies. IrDA is a wireless equipment that assists the contact of devices that only require broadcasting or obtaining little quantity of data. Since this equipment is inexpensive, it is incorporated into every kind of personal devices. Watches, PDAs, phones, personal laptops, and even mouse and keyboards, are just some of these (Comer). IrDA’s strong point is its flexibility. It is set all to itself, which creates it plain and economical to incorporate into nearly everything.
Yet, it has a numerous flaws that are securely attached to its functionality. IrDA utilizes timed beats of beam to convey information by means of a simple light bulb connected into a circuit panel – therefore, a mechanized adaptation of a flash-light. By turning the beam intermittently at adjusted times, it conveys information little by little up to 4Mbps. Even though this is adequate for a lot of uses, like the mouse or watch encoding, a file larger than 1MB will acquire quite a few minutes to convey, and then only if IrDA equipments are right subsequently to each other (Peikari and Fogie).
Bluetooth Technology Bluetooth is once highly acclaimed technology that has suffered great setbacks. The intention of its major contributors was to develop a standard so that wireless devices could interoperate easily and cheaply in a short-range distance. Adding Bluetooth to a device was supposed to add about five dollars to its cost. Estimates have been off, though, and it is actually costing manufacturers closer to thirty dollars to build the technology onto their devices (Nichols and Lekkas).
Bluetooth has attempted to address security concerns from the ground up. Being a relatively new standard, the Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) noted that increasing need for security in new technology products. The hardware incorporates a frequency-hopping scheme with 1600 hops/sec, together with an automatic output power adaptation to reduce the range exactly to requirement. This would mean having to get fairly close to the unit with a rather sophisticated receiver to eavesdrop. Bluetooth also supports an encryption scheme with up to 128-bit private keys.
Unfortunately the way this has been designed, the average user will probably opt for shorter key length to simplify activation. At this point Bluetooth is still too new and lacking a broad user base to determine how vulnerable it will actually be too hostile intercept (Comer). Conclusion The evolution of cellular and wireless technologies has been seen through a progression of four apparent generations. The first generation saw the adaptation of the analog cellular telephone. Indicative of this generation was interference, minimal security, large handsets, and short battery life.
A need for improved service, increased efficiency with frequency use, more security, and better phones paved the way for second-generation technologies in which improvements in service, security, and network capacities were seen. The third-generation products look to extend features and improve on the first generation digital products, including adding more overall functionality and greater bandwidth. The fourth generation will continue to improve upon the infrastructure and may interconnect the globe, perhaps one day allowing a cellular phone to be used from the International Space Station.
All of this will be accomplished more securely than ever before as various methods protecting information are integrated into wireless networks and applications – from frequency hopping to data encryption. It is foreseeable, that the upcoming fourth-generation technologies will take security and bandwidth to an entirely new level allowing ubiquitous use of wireless devices with high bandwidth needs anywhere in the world (Nichols and Lekkas).
Comer, Douglas. The Internet Book: Everything You Need to Know About Computer Networking and How the Internet Works. 4th ed. New Jersey: Prentice Hall College, 2006. Nichols, Randall K. , and Panos C. Lekkas. Wireless Security: Models, Threats, and Solutions. New York: McGraw-Hill Professional, 2002. Peikari, Cyrus, and Seth Fogie. Maximum Wireless Security. Indiana: Sams Publishing, 2003. Swaminatha, Tara M. , and Charles R. Elden. Wireless Security and Privacy: Best Practices and Design Techniques. New York: Addison-Wesley Professional, 2003.