The Mobile Network Iceberg

IcebergThis is not a breaking news: The “Internet of Things” or connected objects is growing at the speed of the light. To convince the skeptics, just have a look at to easily find plenty of devices that are (or should not be!) online.

A few days ago, I was discussing with a customer about an incident he faced: A corporate laptop was compromized via its 3G connectivity. Today, the IPv4 address space being full, mobile operators implement CGN (“Carrier Grade NAT“) for most of their mobile customers. Even if NAT is not a firewall, it prevents incoming connections to reach the mobile device.

But, for some professional or high level services, public IP addresses can be assigned to mobile devices through their SIM card. This is particularly useful in M2M (“Machine to Machine“) communications where devices must be sometimes reachable! While discussing about the incident with my customer, I got the IP address assigned to the 3G dongle. The IP address being part of a /16 network, it was too tempting to see what could be reached from the Internet. I searched for interesting open port and took some screenshots of discovered websites.

The pictures below are just a short resume of the findings: industrial systems, routers, exotic devices, etc. So many devices are publicly available… just being a mobile network connection. I also found MySQL, Remote Desktop and many other juicy services!

Note: no device was harmed during the scan 🙂





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