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But the feature that still hadn’t heard of in iOS 5 is the Unsecured Call alert. This new feature of iOS 5 actually issues a popup alert when you receive an incoming call from an unrecognized number or from a blocked caller ID. Here’s what appears on the iPhone screen as a consequence:
Unsecured Call : The cellular network you are using is not encrypted, This call can be intercepted by unauthorized listeners.
The science behind this new feature is the fact that hacks and security breaches can actually make listening in on to your phone calls possible, brining in use, IMSI catcher, a fake GSM cell tower.
Here’s a proper definition of an IMSI catcher described by Defcon:
“A fake GSM base station designed to trick the target handset into sending you its voice traffic.”
It’s a genuine problem with all GSM phones and they actually point the user by displaying a small emblem if encryption is not used. This could be an exclamation mark. The calling number is also a pointing factor, as the receiver fails to see the number of the caller, while the network access is managed by the SIM of the IMSI-catcher.
So how iOS 5 protects you from one kind of wiretapping is by issuing the “Unsecured Call” alert when your iPhone rings. The wiretapping hack described above is easily possible, otherwise, on any GSM iPhone on AT&T carrier.
Although the message alert doesn’t seem to threat you, it at least gives you an idea to think twice before taking the call, because the incoming source seems apparently sinister.
Another reason to love iOS 5? We’ll keep you posted as more things are discovered. We’ve heard the new-feature tally exceeds 200!
Farrukh Zafar is the inside-out gadget guy at Simonblog. You can always reach him at Twitter.com/fariZafar