A high-security mobile communications company has discovered over 15 fake cell towers across the US that are capable of gaining access to people's mobile phones. The construction and abilities of the interceptors vary greatly, but simple ones can be made using a radio-equipped computers and open source software. The imitation towers can perform a number of nefarious tasks ranging from listening in to planting spyware.
Should the hackers gain control of a personal device, they can even use the account to send text messages. All of that can be done without the phone's owner ever knowing they've been targeted.
So, how do you know if you're at risk? Phones often don't recognize the difference, but some will show that the signal has changed from 4G to 2G when they're under the control of a planted device. Also, ESD America, the company that sells the CryptoPhone 500, a maximum security cell phone, identifies and maps the rogue stations that are discovered.
Unfortunately, not all of them are stationary. While cell towers conjure images of tall, fixed structures, the fake ones are sometimes mobile. In August the FCC announced it is investigating the matter, particularly in cases involving criminal networks and foreign intelligence.
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