An international mobile subscriber identity (IMSI) is a unique number, usually fifteen digits, associated with Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) and Universal Mobile Telecommunications System (UMTS) network mobile phone users. An IMSI catcher is a device, used by the NSA drone program, the police, criminals, Chinese spammers and spies all around Washington DC and the world to spoof the identity of a GSM cell tower and intercept cellular voice and data communication. They come in all sizes and flavors, from tiny or body-worn professional surveillance devices, to easy to order off the shelf solutions, to Chinese DIY (links in Chinese) and have spawned efforts to retaliate with an IMSI-catcher-catcher. IMSI-catcher technology has become increasingly widespread, with far-reaching constitutional and technical implications.
"Maintaining this level of surveillance is very burdensome for companies. According to the letters, AT&T has more than 100 full time employees assigned just to handle law enforcement requests, Verizon has 70, and Sprint has a whopping 226. That’s a lot of people power devoted solely to surveillance." Mobile Phone Surveillance by the Numbers.
Met Police to extract suspects' mobile phone data [BBC] The Metropolitan Police, covering Greater London, are set to expand their search powers by making it standard practice to swipe contact details, call logs, and texts off of the mobile phones of anyone in custody - and retain that data - regardless of whether the suspect ends up charged with a crime or not. Clearly not everyone is over the moon about this, seeing it as the latest sign of the steady erosion of communications privacy in the UK and a potential breach of human rights law.
Karsten Nohl and a team of fellow researchers has cracked the 64-bit encryption used in 80% of the world's GSM phones. Nohl had previously cracked the encryption in the MIFARE smartcard system, demonstrating that the encryption on that device can be cracked in approximately no time whatsoever. These, of course, aren't the first gaping holes in cellphone security to come to light; indeed, lack of security seems to be part of the design spec. Perhaps all new cellphones should be just be distributed with a deck of cards.
There's been quite a stir in Finland about the world's biggest cell phone maker, Nokia, after it was alleged yesterday that politicians had been pressured by the company in order for a law on electronic surveillance of its employees would to be passed. The company denies threats to leave the country if email monitoring laws are not introduced. Electric Frontier Finland is considering taking the case into the ECHR.
We previously discussed your cell phone as a roving bug, but what about your ipod?
Your cell phone is a 'roving bug.' But of course, you have nothing to hide.
Psst... I know you called your girlfriend last night. No, not the one you live with. The naughty hottie that she doesn't know about. I know this because I paid a website $110 to buy your cell-phone records, which they delivered in two hours. Did you know that your private phone records are for sale?