Julian Oliver, a Berlin-based hacker and artist, has created a GSM cell base station that looks like a standard office printer. Similar to any of the common cell phone towers disguised as a tree or streetlight, the fake printer known as the “Stealth Cell Tower” has the power to eavesdrop on phone calls, intercept cell data, and even send messages to any phone connected to the device.
Before you begin checking your office printer for any suspicious modifications and wondering why you haven’t received any texts in the last few minutes, the Stealth Cell Tower was created for less than nefarious reasons. For example, any phone fooled into connecting to the device would receive a call that simply played an mp3 of “I Just Called to Say I Love you” by Stevie Wonder, or receive innocuous text messages. If the user replied to these texts, the printer would print out the responses. After about 5 minutes, the printer would allow the phone to connect to a real cell phone tower again.
The Stealth Cell Tower was created simply to demonstrate the privacy flaws in current GSM cell technology- the technology that all of our cellular connections depend on. Law enforcement has been exploiting this flaw for years through the use of controversial devices known as “Stingrays”. Stingrays use the same basic concept to fool cell phones into connecting to the device while harvesting data from them- a practice that many view as controversial and possibly illegal.
The Stealth Cell Tower serves as a reminder to always encrypt any data or communications from your mobile devices.
Click here to read more about The Stealth Tower.