TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Re: SMS Security??

Re: SMS Security??

David Clayton (
Thu, 20 Jan 2005 08:28:33 +1100

On Wed, 2005-01-19 at 14:41 -0500, Isaiah Beard wrote:

> bensmyth wrote:

>> Hi,

>> When I send an SMS is it sent securely??

> That depends on a lot of things, primarily what signalling format the
> carrier is using and whether that carrier has chosen to implement
> encryption protocols for SMS traffic. Even then, you can't be assured
> that the carrier at the receiving end has the same level of security.

> So, the short safe answer is that you should never assume that text
> messages are being sent securely, even if you are a subcriber of a
> service that claims to be doing so. No one can guarantee end-to-end
> security.

>> How can I be assured of this?? (What protocols, cryptography is used?)

> Again, protocols vary even as an individual message travels to its
> destination. You should never be assured that any secure method is
> being used to transmit SMS messages.

In Australia, there is no guarantee whatsoever that SMS will actually be
delivered -- it seems it is all done on a "best effort" basis.

There have been cases in the past where carriers have had problems
with excessive SMS traffic and have (apparently) just dropped
messages, or have deleted messages awaiting delivery for more than a
few days.

I'd be more concerned about the SMS actually getting through reliably
than any transport security issues, if the message is *that*
important ...


David Clayton, e-mail:
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.
(Remove the "XYZ." to reply)

Dilbert's words of wisdom #18: Never argue with an idiot. They drag you
down to their level then beat you with experience.

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