According to The Washington Post A federal study found signs that surveillance devices for intercepting mobile calls and texts were operating near the White House and other sensitive locations in the Washington area last year.
A Department of Homeland Security program discovered evidence of the surveillance devices, called IMSI catchers, as part of federal testing last year, according to a letter from DHS to Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.)
Part of this letter states :-
“While the NPPD pilot did observe anomalous activity that appeared consistent with IMSI catcher technology within the [National Capital Region], including locations in proximity to sensitive facilities like the White House,” Krebs wrote. “NPPD has neither validated nor attributed such activities to specific entities, devices or purposes.” Krebs stated that NPPD doesn’t have the law enforcement and counterintelligence authority to directly address the IMSI catcher threat, and it had passed along the data collected to other agencies.”
The devices work by simulating cell towers to trick nearby phones into connecting, allowing the IMSI catchers to collect calls, texts and data streams. Unlike some other forms of phone interception, IMSI catchers must be near targeted devices to work.
Krebs’ letter to Wyden concludes with: “Overall, the NPPD believes the malicious use of IMSI catchers is a real and growing risk”.
Duncan is a technology professional with over 20 years experience of working in various IT roles. He has a interest in cyber security, and has a wide range of other skills in radio, electronics and telecommunications.