SeaGlass will warn you of cellular eavesdropping
SECURITY researchers at the University of Washington (UW) have developed a new system called SeaGlass to detect anomalies in the cellular landscape that can indicate where and when cell phone surveillance devices are being used.
The system was deployed during a two-month period with SeaGlass sensors installed in ride-sharing vehicles in Seattle and Milwaukee, resulting in the identification of dozens of anomalies consistent with patterns one might expect from cell-site simulators.
Cell phones are vulnerable to attacks from rogue cellular transmitters called International Mobile Subscriber Identity (IMSI) catchers, also known as cell-site simulators or Stingrays, that are surveillance devices that can precisely locate mobile phones, eavesdrop on conversations or send spam.
“Up until now the use of IMSI-catchers around the world has been shrouded in mystery,” colead author Peter Ney, a doctoral student at the Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering at the UW, said.
Cell-site simulators work by pretending to be a legitimate cell tower that a phone would normally communicate with, and tricking the phone into sending back identifying information about its location and how it is communicating.