Vulnerabilities of Telecommunications Systems to Unauthorized Use

LCD-77-102: Published: Mar 31, 1977. Publicly Released: Mar 31, 1977.

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Telecommunications systems are vulnerable to various penetration techniques that may be used for gaining access to the system and intercepting and interpreting communications traffic carried over the system or inserting traffic into the system.

The difficulty of penetration is dependent on such factors as the adequacy of administrative controls, the competence and integrity of telecommunications personnel, the physical security maintained over telecommunications facilities, the technical security resulting from telecommunications technology, and the penetrator's technical knowledge and financial resources. Investigation of abnormalities in telecommunications systems operations is the primary method used for detecting penetrations or attempted penetrations. However, a penetrator may not be identified due to the delays in identifying an abnormality and the investigation of its cause. The General Services Administration and the Department of Defense have issued warnings to civil agencies and military departments and agencies that commercial and most Government telecommunications systems do not provide the degree of security necessary to protect information.