Signaling Firewalls, Network Resilience and Teenage SIM Swappers: Commsrisk Show Episode 3

Yesterday’s episode of The Communications Risk Show featured network security blogger Josué Martins (pictured right). He drew on his experience at Samsung, Unitel and Accenture whilst discussing the need for signaling firewalls and the ways they can be incorrectly configured or inadequately maintained. The co-existence of different signaling protocols and the sensitivity of private information communicated by networks are just two of the reasons why telcos need to ensure there are no gaps in signaling firewalls.

Our topical chat also covered the surge in prosecutions for boys and young men who have used SIM swaps and bribed telco staff as part of a settled strategy for committing crime. The ultimate goal is to hack businesses to steal data and demand ransoms but comms providers provide a convenient and recurring waypoint for their illegal activities. Will the recent high-profile prosecutions represent a turning point that discourage other juveniles from committing similar crimes? Or have we passed the point of no return because so many kids are now using Telegram and Discord to teach each other criminal techniques like social engineering?

There have also recently been some embarrassing network outages, with some caused by hackers, whilst others simply involved more load than a network could cope with. San Francisco provided one stunning example of the extent to which everything could become over-reliant on networks, as a string of self-driving ‘robotaxis’ all came to a standstill in the middle of the road at the same time. The cars blocked traffic in every direction but could not be restarted by remote human operators because network congestion prevented communication with each car’s systems. It is natural for comms businesses to want more and more products and services to depend on network connectivity, but might we soon regret networking machines and devices that never needed to be networked before? And will network operators put themselves at risk by becoming liable for much more serious failures than the temporary inability to make a call?

The Communications Risk Show is streamed live so the audience can also share their opinions. Join us live every Wednesday at If you cannot join us live then the recording of the episode will be available soon after it has finished, and yesterday’s show can also be watched below.

Eric Priezkalns
Eric Priezkalns
Eric is the Editor of Commsrisk. Look here for more about the history of Commsrisk and the role played by Eric.

Eric is also the Chief Executive of the Risk & Assurance Group (RAG), a global association of professionals working in risk management and business assurance for communications providers.

Previously Eric was Director of Risk Management for Qatar Telecom and he has worked with Cable & Wireless, T‑Mobile, Sky, Worldcom and other telcos. He was lead author of Revenue Assurance: Expert Opinions for Communications Providers, published by CRC Press. He is a qualified chartered accountant, with degrees in information systems, and in mathematics and philosophy.