IMSI-Catchers in Your Backyard… and What to do About Them

Electronic communication allows us the freedom to access data anywhere. Learn how to protect yourself from ISMI catchers.

By Blair Young

Today’s electronic communication is pervasive. It’s an integral part of our daily lives.

We love it…and why not?

In our increasingly busy lives, it provides us freedom to access data from anywhere. It allows us to reach out and connect with our friends, family, and coworkers with a constant stream of interaction.

It has become so ubiquitous that it’s easy to be complacent about the impacts of this technology. Every day, our vital business and personal information is traveling unprotected over the airwaves, ripe for threat actors to intercept for malicious purposes.

This became very evident a few days ago in Ottawa, my hometown and the headquarters for Silent Circle’s Canadian operations. The CBC News organization revealed that threat actors were using IMSI-catchers in Ottawa, the seat of government for Canada. The IMSI-Catcher coverage included the Parliament Buildings, the U.S. Embassy, and the Canadian military HQ.

IMSI-Catchers masquerade as cellular towers, allowing your mobile device to first connect to it and then relay your signals to the actual cellular towers. In doing so, all your cellular data and voice transmissions pass through the IMSI-Catcher. This allows the threat actor to intercept and make copies of your data and voice transmissions. In the security field, this is called a man-in-the-middle (MITM) attack. Mobile users never realize this is happening because their calls and data transmissions seem normal.

Safeguarding your information against this type of MITM attack is straightforward. Encrypting both the data and voice transmissions at the endpoints ensures that any intercepted information is useless to the threat actor. Installing a secure communications solution, such as Silent Phone, on your mobile device is a simple and effective way to protect your information.

Silent Phone provides easy-to-use voice calling, texting, and file transfer capabilities using best-in-class encryption algorithms and technologies. It’s a powerful combination that defeats all types if MITM attacks and ensures your conversations stay private. Silent Phone is available for both iPhone and Android devices and can be downloaded from the Apple App Store and the Android Google Play Store.

Silent Circle is the industry leader in providing secure mobile communications solutions to an expanding community of consumers, enterprises, governments, and military customers around the globe. Don’t hesitate to contact us if you want to make sure how to ensure the privacy of your most important information.