This Amazingly secure Android phone was able to discover fake cell phone towers

BMI Salaf Ramadan Promo (A5 Flyer)

We’ve always been suspicious of folks being able to snoop in on phone conversations or intercept data, but there isn’t much we can do to prove that happening or to prevent the foul act. One secure phone seems to have changed that, however.

ESD America’s GSMK Cryptophone 500 (which is basically a Samsung Galaxy S3 with custom software and security) is device said to be used by many international and corporate organizations as well as private clients who demand more privacy and security. It was taken on a roadtrip from south Florida to North Carolina. Here’s the sales pitch for the phone to potential buyers:

A truly secure communication device must not only protect its communication links, it must also be able to withstand attacks against the device itself. To achieve this, all GSMK CryptoPhone secure mobile phones are based on a “hardened” operating system with granular security management and streamlined, security-optimized components and communication stacks. The hardened operating system reliably protects the device against outside attacks, thus offering true 360-degree protection when it counts most.

CryptoPhone-CP500-01

Said “hardened” operating system is Android, and it’s been loaded up with security apps and solutions for those who require more than your elementary PIN number.

Along the way, ESD was able to use a built-in function that allows them to monitor and identify the cellular towers it connects to — they found that they’d encountered 8 of them in that sizable drive, many of which sat upon government buildings. They weren’t able to pinpoint the origin of the interceptors, though considering those things are expensive to acquire and assemble we’re sure they had to come from some pretty authoritative entities.

WLS reports that a phone connected to one of these non-carrier towers could be subject to eavesdropping, as well as vulnerable to malware and/or spyware that can be loaded up remotely. It’s a scary thought, though we’re not sure any of it would be used maliciously if they’re of government origin.

We all know the NSA and Department of Homeland Security have the capability and permission to intercept calls to protect the country from potential terrorist threats, so it’s not at all surprising to learn such devices are in use. The scary part is the fact that you can randomly hop onto said networks at any time for seemingly no reason.

It’s important to note that any phone is susceptible to hopping onto these networks, and not just Android phones like WLS suggests. Android isn’t some security nightmare — it actually seems to be a hero here, as we’re sure no iPhone or Windows Phone has the capability to detect fake towers like the Cryptophone 500 did.

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  • Brian

    Businesses in low-coverage areas often pay to have a mini/micro tower hooked up to their internet connection (outside the intranet of course) for the sake of their employees. This is completely legal.

    • sygyzy

      This is not what they are talking about.

    • http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9D0CEED81431F935A35750C0A9619C8B63 ɹǝzıuɐƃɹo ʎʇıunɯɯoɔ

      That’s true, but the ‘completely legal’ cells are properly Identified, these ‘rogue’ cells they’re talking about are not.

  • TONY ALDO

    I understand what they’re saying but the whole WLS reports reads like a Billy Mays commercial. I’m not sure if they’re telling me the truth or trying to sell me this “hardened” phone.

    Either way it’s interesting to read about.

    I remember when the cartels were trying to set up their own cellphone network, towers and everything.

    • http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9D0CEED81431F935A35750C0A9619C8B63 ɹǝzıuɐƃɹo ʎʇıunɯɯoɔ

      There’s a hard-push to move these $3000 Cryptophones to Drug Dealers before the Firewall App becomes available, these ‘rogue towers’ are actually Law Enforcement and Government run ‘StingRay’ cells and they know it, otherwise (like the cartels attempt) the FCC would’ve been all over-it and found them long before the marketing department of CryptoPhone had.

  • WhoaManWtF

    The towers they detected by military bases are likely monitoring all communications but I prefer that to losing contact with my loved ones while there.

  • I-RIGHT-I

    Plan all your crimes in person folks because there is no such thing as secure in the USA….Just ask the Red Chinese.

    • https://sites.google.com/site/barry99705/ barry99705

      I didn’t know anybody still used the term Red with countries…

      • I-RIGHT-I

        Public education sucks don’t it?

        • Emile’sGhost

          No, being a McCarthy wannabe like you certainly sucks.

        • RobertArias

          Step away from the tea party and join the human race. It’s a place where bigotry, racism, hate speak, and ignorance are a thing of the past.

          • lookatmyfunnyusername

            Yea because liberals, or whatever the other side of the tea party coin is, aren’t any of those things. (Hint hint they are, just that they’re delusional about the fact that they’re not. Things like that are more institutionalized than anything and a human nature thing.

          • RobertArias

            Thank you soooooo much for proving my point about ignorance . I never once stated that I was or am a “Liberal”.

          • Brutus the Brawler

            You are liber Robert stop tap dancing

          • lookatmyfunnyusername

            Thanks for proving your own ignornace because nowhere did I see someone saying they were a tea partier and nowhere in my comment did I say you were liberal. I was saying that hate bigotry and racism isn’t tied to any one particular group, but of course that concept is going to go over your head.

          • I-RIGHT-I

            “It’s a place where bigotry, racism, hate speak, and ignorance are a thing of the past.”
            I take it you’re not a “paid” spokesperson for the human race? The professionals wouldn’t paint themselves into such a hypocritical corner.

          • RobertArias

            You are correct, I’m not. I am however someone who sees the wrong in hate, in starvation when there is gluttony elsewhere, in propaganda when there is freedom elsewhere, etc. We can never move forward if we continue in the same circle of ludicrous lack of compassion for our fellow man.

          • I-RIGHT-I

            My lack of compassion extends only to the mortal enemies of the USA. Red China is such a one.

          • Paul Coffey

            i wonder what someone said to make you pull out your speech pedestal? Have you been to China? That is a place where propaganda runs deep while freedom elsewhere. They are a communist country and they shut off a lot of access to the outside world. they also have heavy prison terms for what most western world would consider misdemeanor’s or light crimes. I speak from experience…. i have been there.

          • http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9D0CEED81431F935A35750C0A9619C8B63 ɹǝzıuɐƃɹo ʎʇıunɯɯoɔ

            There are desperate people that need help, and lazy people that demand help, when you can figure out how to separate the two …you’ll find a lot more compassionate people in the World.

          • http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9D0CEED81431F935A35750C0A9619C8B63 ɹǝzıuɐƃɹo ʎʇıunɯɯoɔ

            …bigotry, racism, hate speech and ignorance, you’ve just described the staff and viewers of MSNBC, not the TEA Party.

          • Brutus the Brawler

            Tea Party bad? whos good? Lame stream media like MSNBC or CNN?

        • https://sites.google.com/site/barry99705/ barry99705

          Beats me, they didn’t use the term anymore when I graduated 20 years ago.

    • Durin123

      Red as in communist or red as in skin colour? Either way you sound like a Cold War nut. Lololol.

  • http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9D0CEED81431F935A35750C0A9619C8B63 ɹǝzıuɐƃɹo ʎʇıunɯɯoɔ

    So now ‘the sales pitch’ is being reported as news to help sell Cryptophones? We’ve heard about Law Enforcement using the ‘StingRay’ device for a couple years now, they’ve even been exposed in a Florida court case using information collected without a warrant, so this is nothing new. The new twist now is assuming ‘hackers’ are the culprits, I guess it is a better marketing plan for CryptoPhone to claim ‘hackers’ could be stealing info and get Tech sites to promote their ‘marketing pitch’ then it is to come right out and market to Drug Dealers looking to evade Law Enforcement. Common sense says, the sophistication of these devices, the expense involved, and by the lack of concern by the FCC, that these rouge cell towers are being operated by Law Enforcement …and not hackers. But good luck in helping sell these $3000 Galaxy SIII Cryptophones before the New Android Firewall App comes out and makes these Cryptophones obsolete.

  • Jay

    This is just more confirmation that the world is turning into a global totalitarian state. Once you understand the game, everything takes on a different perspective.