4G networks could be shut down with simple kit

$650 radio transmitter could block LTE for miles

With 4G finally making its debut in the UK networks could soon be facing severe problems thanks to a simple radio transmitter and fair bit of know how

A Virginia Tech study has found that worldwide 4G networks are vulnerable to being blocked by a simple radio transmitter costing as little as £410.

The study has revealed a weakness which is that 4G LTE networks are completely reliant on a piece of code which makes up just one per cent of the radio signal.

To block most signals one simply needs to transmit the same signal but with enough power that it cancels the other out. With LTE however all they need to do is block the one per cent and the entire signal becomes useless.

The study has revealed that with by simply spending around £400 on a radio transmitter and then hooking the system up to a car battery and a laptop a person could potentially knock out the 4G signal in a city.

Marc Lichtman, one of the assistants on the study summed up the effects by using the analogy of New York's transport system.

"Imagine blocking all traffic lights so nobody can see if they are red and green, and see what happens to the traffic. Cars hit each other and nobody gets through,”

Lichtman was keen to point out that there has, as yet, been no evidence of anyone actually doing this but warns the potential dangers it could cause.

In the UK EE launched 4G just a few weeks ago offering the first LTE service for customers in and around the UK's major cities with plans to increase coverage over the course of next year.

Source: MIT Technology Review