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Congressman Ted Lieu

Representing the 33rd District of California

CONGRESSMAN LIEU REQUESTS UPDATE, EXPEDITED INVESTIGATION ON FCC SS7 FLAW IN LIGHT OF DCCC HACK

August 24, 2016
Press Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

WASHINGTON – Congressman Ted W. Lieu (D | Los Angeles County) has requested that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) expedite its investigation into the Signaling System Number 7 (SS7) cell phone protocol security flaw and update victims of the recent Democratic and Republican campaign hacks on its findings to date.

Citing the recent hacking of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and Republican Congressional Campaign Committee by foreign hackers, possibly connected with Russian intelligence, Congressman Lieu sent a letter to FCC Chairman Thomas Wheeler requesting that the SS7 investigation be expedited and that the FCC update members of Congress affected by the recent hacks on the findings to date.

“The SS7 problem is no longer a theoretical threat. We now have a mass release of cell phone numbers of Members of Congress likely caused by a Russian government that has full access to utilize the SS7 flaw,” wrote Congressman Lieu.

Congressman Lieu also cited additional threats to American elections and national security that the hack and SS7 flaw could pose in combination with each other, stating that, “[o]ther enemy adversaries, such as North Korea and Iran, could also take this information and acquire the cell phone voice and text data of multiple Members of Congress. The ramifications of the SS7 flaw can be severe, both for our national security and the integrity of American elections.”

Background
On April 16, 2016, German researchers on the television show “60 Minutes” revealed a flaw in the SS7 protocol that allows sophisticated hackers, such as foreign governments and international crime syndicates to intercept cell phone conversations, data and text messages as long as they know the phone number and mobile carrier network. In response to the revelations, the FCC opened up an investigation into the SS7 flaw on April 20, 2016 and requested that mobile carriers provide information with respect to the timing and methods used to issue security updates to their devices. SS7 is a cell telephony protocol that is used in most countries throughout the world.

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A copy of the letter can be found HERE.

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