June 16, 2021


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AdaptOver : Adaptive Overshadowing of LTE signals. (arXiv:2106.05039v1 [cs.CR])

We introduce AdaptOver, a new LTE signal overshadowing attack that allows an
adversary to reactively and adaptively overshadow any downlink message between
the network and the user equipment (UE). We demonstrate the impact of AdaptOver
by using it to launch targeted Denial-of-Service (DoS) attacks on UEs. We
implement AdaptOver using a commercially available software-defined radio. Our
experiments demonstrate that our DoS attacks cause persistent connection loss
lasting more than 12 hours for a wide range of smartphones. DoS attacks based
on AdaptOver are stealthier than attacks that relied on the use of fake base
stations, and more persistent than existing overshadowing attacks, which caused
connection loss of only up to 9 minutes. Given that AdaptOver can reactively
overshadow any downlink message, its use is not limited to DoS attacks – it can
be used for a wide range of other attacks, e.g., to extract the IMSI from a UE
in a stealthier manner than traditional IMSI catchers. We consider AdaptOver to
be an essential building block for many attacks against real-world LTE
networks. In particular, any fake base station attack that makes use of spoofed
downlink messages can be ported to the presented attack method, causing a much
more reliable, persistent, and stealthy effect.