The 2G network has a history of more than 30 years, and there are still many services that uses 2G. However, since the network is far behind, much less attention is given to it. For this reasons and more, the network has too many security holes. Google has officially disabled the 2G network in the Android system. Now, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) also wants Apple to learn from Android and turn off the 2G network on iPhones. Google added a feature switch in Android 12 that enables or disables the “Allow 2G” feature in the SIM card settings.
The EFF praised Google’s approach and asked Apple to follow up. The foundation wants Apple to also add the function of turning off the 2G network in the iPhone. As of now, this is not available on the iPhone. The EFF wants this in the hope of improving the security of mobile users because there are too many security loopholes in the 2G network.
2G network has many security risk
The 2G network came out in 1991 and has a history of more than 30 years. At that time, there was not much consideration for security. The technology is not very good, and there are two main security risks:
The first is that the 2G network uses weak encryption between mobile phones and cell towers. This allows hackers to easily intercept users’ telecommunications and text messages, and even hack into mobile phones without sending any data packets.
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Secondly, there is no base station authentication technology in the 2G network. Thus, fake base stations are prevalent, and the spam text messages and harassing calls that many people receive are likely to be made by fake base stations.
These are just two of the major security issues, 2G has a plethora of security issues. Starting from the 4G network, these vulnerabilities have been gradually fixed. Nevertheless, there are base station simulators that can be downgraded to 2G and continue to suffer previous vulnerabilities. Thus, there are some higher network users who may encounter 2G security issues.
U.S. will phase out 2G mobile networks by 2033
According to Reuters, the UK said it will phase out its 2G and 3G mobile networks by 2033. This will enable the country to release radio waves for 5G and eventually 6G networks. These networks will be unmanned and will be very useful for unmanned cars, drones, and virtual reality technologies. The British government stated that all four operators in the UK – EE, Vodafone, O2, and Three agree to this timetable. British Telecom, which uses the same core network as EE, said in July that it will phase out 3G in early 2023. The company will then phase out 2G that has more than 25 years of history in ten years.
The British government said that setting a date to end 2G and 3G services will make it easier for new equipment manufacturers to enter the market because they will not have to support traditional technologies.