Authored by Hidde Beumer, Cisco Cybersecurity Manager


Today’s mobile service providers connect more devices, data, and services than ever before. Mobile networks have become critical infrastructures in modern societies, so with security threats growing around the world, there is increased pressure on mobile operators to protect their networks and end-user information.

Historically network attacks came from the public internet, but recently threats are also surfacing on the SS7 and Diameter network connections formerly thought secure, including the Radio Access Network (RAN) and the Other Licensed Operator (OLO) connections. Unfortunately, the standards for these connections have very little security precautions.

The GSMA recognized this issue and recently developed the FS.21 standard. FS.21 takes both the IP and transport layers, as well as the signalling protocol layers, into account to secure vulnerable interconnects. Work on this standard led to the collaboration of Cisco and NetNumber, as announced by Dr. Gee Rittenhouse last month.

Both Cisco and NetNumber are leaders in network infrastructure security: Cisco with a broad and deep portfolio of security products, and NetNumber as a leader in the signalling firewall market.

NetNumber’s NetNumber TITAN multi-protocol signalling firewall complements the Cisco security architecture to provide end-to-end security for Diameter and SS7 connections:

  • Cisco’s Adaptive Security Virtual Appliance (ASAv) protects up to IP SCTP layer, and
  • NetNumber’s TITAN Signaling Firewall protects the application layers above SCTP.

As NetNumber’s CEO Kevin Peters puts it, “NetNumber is collaborating with Cisco to deliver comprehensive security solutions to help mobile service providers protect their business and network infrastructure from cyber attacks. With the firewall solutions of NetNumber and Cisco combined, service providers can deliver greater security effectiveness with less cost and complexity.”