Q

Will fixed-mobile convergence (FMC) create more security risks?

Many carriers want to deliver data and video by integrating wireline and wireless infrastructures, a move called fixed-mobile convergence (FMC). In this tip, Ed Skoudis explains. the security implications of such a combination.

How will the emerging fixed-mobile convergence (FMC) market affect the security of cellular devices?
For the uninitiated, fixed-mobile convergence (FMC) refers to the integration of wireline and wireless telephony infrastructures, as well as the heavy incorporation of data services on those infrastructures. Analysts have observed for years that a good number of people have given up their plain old telephone service (POTS) wireline phone, relying exclusively now on their cheaper cell phones. The wireline world, however, has a lot of expensive and useful infrastructure, so many want to leverage the abandoned technology and use it for delivery of data, video and other services.

The product is a converged wireline and wireless infrastructure. To carry out such integration, most FMC pundits project that everything will be carried over Internet Protocol (IP): voice, data, wireless, wireline… the whole shebang.

How will this affect security? Unfortunately, I'm not an optimist here. I think that converging these networks and putting gateways between them will increase complexity and result in more vulnerabilities for the bad guys to exploit. New technologies, such as the gateways needed for FMC and the new applications using IP, will likely have flaws. That's not to say that I'm against this kind of convergence. From an economic and usefulness perspective, the technology shows great promise. From a security perspective, though, FMC will likely make for some rough waters.

More information:

  • See how fixed-mobile convergence (FMC) introduces new business opportunities (and security headaches)
  • Learn about defense strategies that can secure an enterprise's unfied communications.
  • This was first published in July 2007

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