Accuris Networks Blog

What's Next After the "Year of Encryption"?

Posted by Robbie Ryan on 22-Jan-2015 12:36:56

Last year was the much-ballyhooed "year of encryption" during which well-publicized hacks scared some big companies straight into getting serious about security.  But users -- those folks who blithely connect to any old public Wi-Fi network can find without a fleeting thought about potential danger -- still don't care.

From Yahoo's newly encrypted email service, Google's extended encryption to search terms and Microsoft's plans to encrypt all data moving on its networks, many important players have got it -- that is, the need for better security. Mobile carriers and Internet service providers made major moves in 2014 to secure their networks. In 2014, T-Mobile introduced new Wi-Fi calling features offering Wi-Fi calling secured by IPsec tunnels. Apple iPhone 6, offered Wi-Fi calling with added security  - encrypted calling for the user it means that the voice calls can’t be listened in on like they could be on a less encrypted system or on the existing or open Wi-Fi systems. On the other side of the argument, British Prime Minister this month is proposing a move to block encrypted messaging applications such as What’sApp, iMessage or Snapchat.

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Topics: Wi-Fi Roaming, Wi-Fi Security

Some Predictions For 2015

Posted by Aidan Dillon on 18-Dec-2014 12:40:00

A century ago, history was poised for a major technological development that would take place in 1915: the first official transcontinental telephone call -- New York to San Francisco -- enabled by the newly invented vacuum tube amplifier. It's dizzying to think that 100 years later, humans everywhere can get all kinds of information on a little device that easily fits in a pocket. Despite today's breakneck pace of technical innovation, mobile communications is still in for some significant developments in 2015. Here are three initial predictions for what we expect to see happen next year.

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Topics: Hotspot 2.0, Wi-Fi Roaming, Voice Over Wi-Fi

Wi-Fi Security - It's Time to Care About It

Posted by Robbie Ryan on 15-Dec-2014 12:18:00

Those horror films where evil shadows lurk in the darkness is sort of like using public Wi-Fi networks today -- bad things can happen to unsuspecting victims. But many wireless users still fire up their devices in coffee shops and other public places without realizing their susceptibility to eavesdropping and worse. In fact, one recent survey revealed that 78% of those performing wireless connectivity outside the home or office rely mainly on free Wi-Fi connections -- which are typically provided without encryption and offer immediate access without a password or key.  Most users -- 85% in the case of those using 3G or 4G mobile connections -- just aren't concerned about hotspot security. [1]

They should be. Consider a recent experiment in which a hacker entered a cafe and within 20 minutes of being connected to the network, knew where everyone then online was born, what schools they attended and their recent search histories. With just a bit more effort, he could have retrieved their passwords, stolen their identities and plundered their bank accounts.[2]

Then there's voice over Wi-Fi (VoWiFi). As seen in Apple's new iOS 8 and quickly supported by carriers such as T-Mobile, Sprint and others, it's easy to understand the appeal of VoWiFi -- better coverage and call quality at an attractive price. But what isn't appealing is the usual Wi-Fi security issues, now passed on to voice data.

If only the average public Wi-Fi user was as concerned about security as big corporations. All the well-publicized government hacking has caused 2014 to be dubbed "the year of encryption" as firms like Google, Yahoo, Microsoft and others are now busily encrypting everything they can. But this security paranoia still hasn't infected the average user, it seems -- other than those who have been hacked.

Fortunately, as technology keeps leapfrogging forward, organizations like the Wi-Fi Alliance and Wireless Broadband Alliance (WBA) are looking out for the user's need for security. The Wi-Fi Certified Passpoint program (also called Hotspot 2.0) creates secure authentication for hotspots and WBA's Next-Generation Hotspot (NGH) program delivers a public Wi-Fi experience that's as easy and secure as that on cellular networks.

For example, at this year's Mobile World Congress, we teamed with Cisco, AT&T and a host of mobile operators to establish a Next-Generation Wi-Fi Hotspot at the conference. Attendees at the conference were able to securely, automatically connect to the Wi-Fi network without cumbersome passwords or pop-ups.

It’s important that someone acts as the gatekeeper when it comes to Wi-Fi security, there is a strong need to plug the gap between cellular and Wi-Fi networks while making the handoff easy and highly secure. There are many technologies out there but utilizing subscriber SIM credentials as the means of authenticating users on any Wi-Fi network for data, voice and messaging services offers the most secure way of doing this. The challenge for the market is to make any type of Wi-Fi access technology work as a full extension of GSM, CDMA or cable networks for billing, policy and authentication so that users don’t know they are moving to a new network just that they enjoy the same secure service.

We understand that many users can't be bothered with all the security rigmarole -- knowing and typing in passwords and PINs and all that -- to access the magic of Wi-Fi. The key for carriers is to secure users without them being aware of it. Since a user's SIM card contains a cryptographic key, the best solution is to use it and let it act like a silent traffic cop, communicating with cellular networks to prove the user's digital identity.

Extending the security of cellular networks to insecure Wi-Fi networks and seamlessly doing the same authentication and authorization will become a moot point for carriers in the coming years. Will the benefit justify the investment in the infrastructure. When it comes to VoWiFi, the technologies need to comply with emerging security standards in the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) -- an important telecom standards organization -- that carriers will implement. In simple terms, vendors need to ensure military-grade encryption when tunneling into the mobile core for network connectivity.

With big companies becoming more manic about security, as a result of government spying efforts, it's comforting to know that whether it's for Wi-Fi or VoWiFi, there are solutions out there providing the critical technology to enable seamless authentication and authorization at public Wi-Fi hotspots and make sure any connection is secure without subscribers breaking a sweat over forgotten passwords. This has obvious appeal to the carriers, service providers and equipment vendors that can now protecting their subscribers' voice and data information in any Wi-Fi network.

Maybe it doesn't matter that users never see the horror lurking in the shadows because the telecom industry can use the newest market technology to make sure it never arrives.

Wi-Fi Server

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Topics: Hotspot 2.0, Wi-Fi Security

A Better Approach for Wi-Fi Communication on Cruise Lines

Posted by Simon O'Donnell on 06-Nov-2014 17:40:00


Just because cruise ship guests are playing and relaxing doesn't mean they don't want to use their phones. The problem is that on-board Wi-Fi is notoriously costly - guests are compelled to buy full Internet service even if only requiring voice or text services.  Often ship Wi-Fi only allows for communication between apps such as iMessage and Viber and not a user’s own phone number.  The downside to seeing spectacular sunsets or relaxing by the pool is that travellers cannot connect with family and friends by simply texting or calling using their own mobile phone, there’s a complicated set-up that needs to be planned before holiday-makers ever leave port. But the award-winning AccuROAM platform solves these problems while giving cruise line operators an easier, more profitable solution for text and voice over Wi-Fi services.

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Topics: Wi-Fi Roaming, Voice Over Wi-Fi

21st Century Technologies: Hotspot 2.0

Posted by Aidan Dillon on 21-Jul-2014 15:00:00


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Topics: Hotspot 2.0, Voice Over Wi-Fi

In Wi-Fi We Trust…

Posted by David Reeder on 04-Jul-2014 14:00:00

Or do we?  The topic of Trusted versus Untrusted Wi-Fi came up in a few of my conversations at the recent Wi-Fi Offload Summit in Palo Alto.  Let’s take a look at both from the Mobile Operator’s perspective: 

Connecting Wi-Fi and Mobile_Networks

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Topics: Wi-Fi Offload, Carrier Wi-Fi

Randomizing MAC Address in IOS 8 – Another Y2K Bug?

Posted by Cheng Chuan Khaw on 27-Jun-2014 10:27:07

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Topics: Wi-Fi Offload, Hotspot 2.0, "ios 8"

Join us at the Wi-Fi Offload Summit in Palo Alto

Posted by David Reeder on 27-May-2014 11:15:18

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Topics: Wi-Fi Offload, Hotspot 2.0, Wi-Fi Roaming, Wi-Fi Monetization

New Wi-Fi Roaming customer in Brazil in time for the World Cup

Posted by Gustavo Strenger on 19-May-2014 15:28:00

Here's a recent article in TelecomPaper about our new customer Linktel that is using our AccuROAM product. This will quickly allow their customers to roam globally on Carrier Wi-Fi networks but just as importantly it will mean AT&T subscribers and others can roam onto Linktel's Wi-Fi network 
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Topics: Wi-Fi Roaming

Wi-Fi Offload Predictions

Posted by David Reeder on 26-Mar-2014 11:00:00

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Topics: Wi-Fi Offload

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