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iOS 5 ‘Unsecured Calls’ Warns You When Making Unsecured Calls


MuscleNerd has discovered that iOS 5 now warns you when you are making an unsecure call with a popup that reads:
Unsecured Call
The cellular network you are using is not encrypted. This call can be intercepted by unauthorized listeners.

You’re given the option to ignore the warning or end the call.
This is should come as welcomed new for those concerned about security.

One interesting feature of iOS 5 that we’ve been tracking since yesterday is that users have been reporting the above ‘unsecured call’ warning. While it isn’t in any of the documentation we’ve seen, it appears that Apple is warning users of the possibility that their phone calls can be eavesdropped on.

It likely warning of the possibility of a GSM IMSI Catcher basestation which can intercept unecrypted calls.  Wikipedia notes that unecrypted call detection isn’t new:

there are a few mobile phones that show a small symbol on the display, e.g. an exclamation point, if encryption is not used. Another point is the calling number. Since the network access is handled with the SIM/USIM of the IMSI-catcher, the receiver cannot see the number of the calling party. Of course, this also implicates that the tapped calls are not listed in the itemized bill.

Video of a DEFCON talk on IMSI catcher below:

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