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[liberationtech] New Satphone Safety Guide

Collin Anderson collin at averysmallbird.com
Wed Mar 21 21:19:57 PDT 2012


Would anyone in this conversation be so kind as to satisfy a tangential
curiosity of mine. The case of Alan Gross in Cuba seems so wrapped up in an
under-explained and over-hyped piece of equipment:

On his final trip, he brought in a "discreet" SIM card -- or subscriber
> identity module card -- intended to keep satellite phone transmissions from
> being pinpointed within 250 miles (400 kilometers), if they were detected
> at all.


http://www.businessweek.com/ap/financialnews/D9SSHGPG2.htm

Beyond the obvious issues with that statement; does anyone know what they
are referring to?

On Tue, Mar 20, 2012 at 11:22 PM, Jacob Appelbaum <jacob at appelbaum.net>wrote:

> On 03/16/2012 02:48 PM, Brian Conley wrote:
> > Thanks Jacob, comments in-line.
>
> Hey Brian and other libtechers,
>
> This should be extremely interesting to everyone:
> http://pastebin.com/tr38Sy3f
>
> Note the little bit on location info in that pastebin:
>
>        .... ...1 = GCI: MES is GPS capable (1)
>        .... ..1. = R: 1
>        .... .0.. = O: 0
>        GPS Position
>            1... .... = CPI: GPS position is current position (1)
>            .001 1000 0000 0111 0011 .... = Latitude: 33.78961 N (98419)
>            .... 0010 1111 1100 1011 1111 = Longitude: 67.21414 E (195775)
>        .... .000 = Number Type: Unknown (0)
>
> I believe that means the caller was here when the intercept caught them:
>
> https://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&source=s_q&hl=en&geocode=+&q=33.78961+N+67.21414+E&ie=UTF8&ll=33.779147,67.241821
>
> Here's the background information:
> http://openbts.blogspot.com/2012/03/gmr-1-revisited.html
>
> David Burgess, praise be upon him, says:
>
> "The Channel Request message is the first message sent from the handset
> to the satellite at the start of any transaction. This message cannot be
> encrypted. This message typically contains the following information:
>
> the IMSI of the satellite phone handset
> the called number (in the case of mobile-originated calls) and
> the GPS location of the handset."
>
> The best part of his blog post for those who can't load the page is this
> part:
>
> "Well, the uplink from the handset is only visible for a kilometer or
> so, but the feeder link is visible over roughly 1/3 of the planet's
> surface to anyone with a C-Band dish and is not given any additional
> encryption."
>
> So - yeah, ouch!
>
> All the best,
> Jacob
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-- 
*Collin David Anderson*
averysmallbird.com | @cda | Washington, D.C.
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