Weaknesses in new 5G telephone networks allow hackers to track someone’s location and send fake text messages that could be used to defraud them, according to a new study.
Attackers can gain access to someone’s phone with just their phone number or Twitter name, the research suggests.
The flaws affect both 4G and brand new 5G networks, according to researchers from the University of Iowa and Purdue.
The attacker can detect which phone mast a victim is close to by calling them using a piece of equipment that costs as little as $200 (£153).
Once they know how to identify the phone they can conduct a “cracking” attack and send messages that appear as though they are coming from a trusted contact or company.
It is not the first time security researchers have warned of problems within the telecommunication standards.
Last year the Telegraph demonstrated how someone could make calls and texts appear as if they were coming from different phone numbers including banks, energy suppliers and even social media companies.
Ethical hacker Mike Godfrey warned the flaw was “very dangerous” at the time, adding that it takes “just a day to create a tool that could exploit it”. BT, Vodafone and EE said they were investigating the issue at the time.