Users of the ultra-secure CryptoPhone 500, reports WeLiveSecurity, claim to have discovered 17 mysterious cellphone towers apparently engaged in wireless attacks on base-band chips, installing spyware, eavesdropping and other malacious activity. The phone’s maker, ESD, says their device employs an Android version hardened against such attacks and “remov[es] 468 vulnerabilities.” All for nought? Les Goldsmith—with ESD—reports that his own Android security firewall recorded “80 to 90” attacks per hour. Goldsmith has no guess as to who built and maintains the “fake” towers (which, in some accounts, are referred to not as actual towering structures, but mobile computers). He also says the nefarious hackers—surprisingly—are using a known “interceptor” technology, one type of which is the openly advertised VME Dominator, “a real-time GSM A5.1 cellphone interceptor. It cannot be detected [by commonly available phones]. It allows interception of voice and text…voice manipulation …text modification…directional finding of a user during random monitoring of calls.”
Whoever is running the program (detected during a CryptoPhone 500 customer’s drive between Florida and the Carolinas) remains unknown but—for once—has nothing to do with the NSA, whose digital arsenal has no need of off-the-shelf tech such as the VME Dominator. Personally, I (mostly) concur with author William Gibson’s Twittered take: “That fake cell tower story looks pretty dodgy, really.” Just because I’m paranoid doesn’t mean…you know.