Hackers have been breaking into phone networks, report states

Hackers have been breaking into mobile phone networks around the world in order to collect data on their users, a new report has revealed.

The document, compiled by Boston-based security firm Cybereason, said the level of access was such that the criminals could have shut down the networks if they had wanted to.

Instead, they collected call records and geolocations of individuals in politics, law enforcement and government in Europe, Asia and the Middle East.

The attack has been named Operation Softcell and began in 2017, but Cybereason spotted it in 2018 and began helping telecoms companies fight it.

It is thought the hackers gained entry through flaws in web server products and the security firm has concluded "with a high level of certainty" that they were based in China.

Calls and messages can be hugely important for hackers as, although they do not gain access to the contents, they can still glean a detailed insight into people's lives.

Last year, 30 per cent of businesses in the telecoms industry reported having had sensitive customer data stolen in cyber breaches.

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