All about the Stingrays: systems spies to interfere with cell phones

The Stingrays are electronic systems that mimic cell towers to gather data about the cell close to the same. The Department of Homeland Security united States (DHS for its acronym in English) has publicly recognized that the observed anomalous activity and unusual in Washington D. C. derived from the use of this type of equipment. According to the government, these devices can intercept calls and messages from cell phones.

Poll: do you think that Facebook or some of its applications, listen to what you say to the microphone of your cell?

This type of espionage tends to be seen as part of the activities that make the foreign powers within the united States. The problem perhaps is that for the first time the government confirmed publicly the existence of the Stingrays within their territory. It is also suspected, of course, criminals and even terrorist groups, although it is not said never who may be these. Since then, this planet is a problem of internal security is increasingly high.

One of the issues curious is that the Intelligence Agency of the united States, the CIA, used this type of device in order to hack phones and even tvs, all of this according to WikiLeaks. The Stingrays because they are monitoring appliances that mimic phone towers that can be seen on many roofs of buildings (although the size of a briefcase), in virtually any city where there are cell phone. Come on, if the signal is transmitted “over the air”, there will always be a way to intercept it, or at least that is the principle. The name derives from the brand name of a type of interceptor, IMSI (international identity of the subscriber of a mobile phone).

The Stingrays can fool cell phones, asking them for information in order to transmit your location and give extra information. So, the phones that are in the area to connect and share their IMSI number and electronic serial number ESN. In some cases, they can tell exactly where a user. And whoever believes that this is only seen in science fiction, it is worth to remember when Pablo Escobar, the drug lord, were to be speaking from a cell phone with one of their children, which led to the death (1993). The technology that was used at that time was French and british.

The Stingrays can recognize now where is the telephone of a user, as well as obtain information from nearby equipment. There are teams that can even listen to calls, but to do this requires the use of 2G, a type of connection much more insecure. Some computers Stingray was placed under the car and sometimes on airplanes.

Fortunately, users have tools to protect themselves. One of them is to encrypt their communications, to the extent possible or, to use messaging systems with this capability. It is assumed that, for example, WhatsApp offers this possibility to the users.

But the issue of the Stingrays put on the table by the senator from Oregon, Ron Wyden, who on the 26th of march of this same year, sent the DHS a letter requesting information on these devices. The body’s response was in the sense that it had not taken much action. It is claimed in such answer, that he had observed activities abnormal in the region of the capital of the State that seem to be related to interceptors IMSI. Added even observed like activity outside of the capital of the country, although I can’t give more details.

Of course, in the united States this issue has already queue that we walked. For example, the police forces of the united States are monitored by the Union and American Civil Liberties (ACLU), which also speaks of that nobody here is so innocent as he claims to be and that “good and bad” to use these computers in general are illegal and violate the privacy of those affected.

For example, in a report in 2014, the ACLU said that the state of Florida had spent approximately $ 3 million on Stingrays. The police indicated, however, that he could not give any details on the use of this technology. So transparent are also in the first world. The attorney of the ACLU indicated that the response was “unacceptable,” stating that “this technology raises serious questions under the Fourth Amendment (the legislation that protects the right to privacy and the right not to suffer an invasion arbitrary),” and added: “the public has the right to full disclosure of the records to be able to participate in an informed debate about the lawfulness and the reach of these devices, and monitor their use”.

What is interesting is that the Stingrays have been in use in the united States and he knows the FBI. but what is new is that the statutory agencies local seem to have acquired. There is evidence that the police in Arizona, California and Florida have this type of devices. According to the researchers, some authorities use this system to have more data on potential criminals and suspects. But as happens in all these matters, there seems to be a limit to how it is used, and at what point in time violate the rights of citizens.

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