When You Put Back Doors in, Crooks Use Them Too

Law enforcement has insisted on setting up our phone systems so they can use cell tower spoofing devices undetectably to track suspicious actions.

We now have learned that crooks and spies are using the same technologies, and the same back doors, to spy on people:

The federal government has formally acknowledged for the first time that it has located suspected and unauthorized cell-site simulators in various parts of Washington, DC.

The revelation, which was reported for the first time on Tuesday by the Associated Press, was described in a letter recently released from the Department of Homeland Security to the offices of Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Oregon).

“Overall, [DHS’ National Protection and Programs Directorate] believes the malicious use of IMSI catchers is a real and growing risk,” wrote Christopher Krebs, DHS’ acting undersecretary, in a March 26, 2018 letter to Wyden.

The letter and attached questionnaire say that DHS had not determined who is operating the simulators, how many it found, or where they were located. DHS also said that its NPPD is “not aware of any current DHS technical capability to detect IMSI catchers.” The agency did not explain precisely how it was able to observe “anomalous activity” that “appears to be consistent” with cell-site simulators.

The devices, which are also known as stingrays or IMSI catchers, are commonly used by domestic law enforcement nationwide to locate a particular phone. Sometimes, they can also be used to intercept text messages and phone calls. Stingrays act as a fake cell tower and effectively trick a cell phone into transmitting to it, which gives up the phone’s location.

There is no, “Technical capability to detect IMSI catchers,” because DHS, the FBI, the CIA, the NSA, and the rest of the TLAs want to be able to spy and track with impunity, so the difficulty of detection and countermeasures has been designed into these systems.

This is what happens when you put back doors in systems, the bad guys figure out how to use them too.

To quote Leonard McCoy on this one, “”It’s NOT enough! You didn’t care what happened as long as you could hang your trophy on the wall. Well, it’s not on it, Captain, it’s in it!”

This is why we cannot trust, nor should we consider the absolutist demands of our state security apparatus.


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