×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Feature Phone Hack Can Block Calls, Texts On Some Networks

Unknown Lamer posted about 8 months ago | from the security-through-obscurity-problems dept.

Security 39

Trailrunner7 writes, quoting Threat Post "By tweaking the firmware on certain kinds of phones, a hacker could make it so other phones in the area are unable to receive incoming calls or SMS messages, according to research presented at the USENIX Security Symposium. The hack involves modifying the baseband processor on some Motorola phones and tricking some older 2G GSM networks into not delivering calls and messages. By 'watching' the messages sent from phone towers and not delivering them to users, the hack could effectively shut down some small localized mobile networks. Essentially the hacked firmware ... can block ... pages by responding to them before the phones that were initially intended to receive them do, something Kevin Redon and company called during their research 'the race for the fastest paging response time.'" Thanks to the power of Osmocom BB, which has implemented Free Software baseband for several GSM devices. Also see the research paper.

cancel ×
This is a preview of your comment

No Comment Title Entered

Anonymous Coward 1 minute ago

No Comment Entered

39 comments

first useless reply! (1)

themushroom (197365) | about 8 months ago | (#44681623)

I'd love to be able to block texting around me.

Re:first useless reply! (3, Insightful)

je ne sais quoi (987177) | about 8 months ago | (#44681857)

Shoot, I couldn't care less about blocking other people's texting, what I want is to block texting to my own phone selectively. If they aren't in my contacts list, I don't want their text message. This is mostly, but not entirely due to AT&T's (and everyone else's) abusive pricing strategy for texts. What I would call fair is rates for text messages that are charged the same as the equivalent amount of voice data. As it is, Apple never did a better thing by creating Messages for iOS and imessage.app for OS X. It's a pity they don't open their standard so that android devices or linux computers can use the same protocol and I would never have to pay for another text message.

Re:first useless reply! (1)

DontScotty (978874) | about 8 months ago | (#44682181)

You can do this.

Pretty easy...
 
    google yourself a solution.... (hint)

Re:first useless reply! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44682273)

You can do this.

Pretty easy...

    google yourself a solution.... (hint)

All the 'solutions' do not actually block messages. You MUST have a Carrier who offers SMS/MMS blocking at the provider level to actually BLOCK unsolicited messages. All the app-based and OS-based solutions do not block the message, they merely suppress notifications, alerts, some auto-delete the item or otherwise hide it. But the cell company still will show a text was sent to your phone. (Which might not matter if you're on an unlimited texting plan) I haven't tested the iPhone to verify, but I suspect the built-in blocking feature in iOS doesn't really block either, just suppresses.

I do know of one way to do it on the phone itself, but it will most likely void your phone's warranty, and will 100% violate your TOS agreement with your carrier. I won't get into gritty details but essentially it's a hack which reads the message header then fails to provide an 'Ack' back to the tower indicating the handset got it. This will result in the tower retrying the send until it eventually and times out fails... but until then you won't get any messages from other sources either, and some carriers will fail all the messages in the 'pending to-send' pool at once. So it's not very practical for most people.

Re:first useless reply! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44682503)

Try Extreme Call Blocker. (Droid) I can white/blacklist just as you described. Keeps my boss (or anyone not in my directory) from calling at all hours when I am not clocked in. My fav is the ATT recording of "This is not a working number"...)

Re:first useless reply! (1)

Trogre (513942) | about 8 months ago | (#44683003)

Wait, you pay to receive text messages where you live?

WTF?

Having said that, there's a few good IM apps for android that

Re:first useless reply! (1)

Trogre (513942) | about 8 months ago | (#44683023)

(stupid submit button) ... that let you send/receive text messages, but of course require the other parties to have the same app installed. Viber comes to mind.

Re:first useless reply! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44686745)

I recently travelled outside the US and, indeed, you are charged for all texts ($0.05 for incoming, $0.50 outgoing) while roaming internationally. Also, I pay for my mother's phone, and she does not have texting. ATT routinely sends her texts and changes me $0.10 each for the privilege.

Re:first useless reply! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44686533)

If they aren't in my contacts list, I don't want their text message. This is mostly, but not entirely due to AT&T's (and everyone else's) abusive pricing strategy for texts.

Try shopping around. I'm on Boost Mobile, it starts at a flat $50 per month and you get unlimited talk, text, email, internet, roaming, 411, and I don't remember what else. And every six on-time bill payments your bill drops by five bucks a month until you reach $35.

Meanwhile, my daughter in college is paying AT&T over a hundred bucks a month to use her broken iPhone.

Re:first useless reply! (1)

DavidClarkeHR (2769805) | about 8 months ago | (#44681887)

I'd love to be able to block texting around me.

A cell phone jammer is inexpensive ... and illegal. This is the same thing - it breaks FCC broadcast rules.

Re:first useless reply! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44682365)

It would be pretty difficult to be caught jamming, unless you remain completely stationary with your jammer for days on end.

Re:first useless reply! (1)

Errtu76 (776778) | about 8 months ago | (#44683287)

Also, I found out that if you're in a train and sit close enough to the engineer(? the person who operates the train ..) and switch on the jammer while the train is at the station, the train won't move anymore because you're blocking the signal used by the train to communicate with the station. Was kind of funny at first, but then too many people came in asking questions and being upset ... Also, I was getting late for work and people complaining about their phone not working was worse than when they were quietly texting.

Re:first useless reply! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44694641)

It's not the same thing though, as the original speaker at 29C3 in December last year points out [youtube.com] . A cell phone jammer takes out only the devices within range of the jammer or possibly the cell. This device works over an entire LAC which could encompass hundreds or thousands of cells, causing a lot more disruption for a lot less cost.

Re:first useless reply! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44682223)

I'd love to be able to block texting around me.

Well then, good news! All you have to do is convince all the wireless providers and users to downgrade to 2G standards which were abandoned for a variety of reasons, security issues not the least of them.
Something else which should peak your interest is a program for cracking the Enigma code, which will allow an attacker to spy on all the communications of one of the world's largest and most aggressive military forces!

Film at Eleven.

Cool (5, Funny)

oodaloop (1229816) | about 8 months ago | (#44681689)

But can it re-open closed tabs?!1? I just wish there was a hot-key or menu option for this essential but rarely used feature.

Re:Cool (4, Funny)

immaterial (1520413) | about 8 months ago | (#44681821)

Don't be ludicrous. That would be tantamount to creating "undo" for the entire Internet. It would be a technological marvel to pull that off!

Re:Cool (1)

kesuki (321456) | about 8 months ago | (#44681917)

Shift+control+t for firefox which also has it under 'history' 'recently closed tabs'
i knew about the menu method but noticed today that you can use the afore mentioned keyboard shortcut. it remembers forms though so can be used to recover forensic data...

Not legal in USA (1)

craigminah (1885846) | about 8 months ago | (#44681819)

There are devices you can buy that do the same thing but they are called "jammers" and are illegal in the USA (http://www.jammer-store.com/).

Re:Not legal in USA (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44681845)

There's a difference between radio interference and software-based intercepting.

Re:Not legal in USA (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44682185)

You want to explain that to the men in black suits that show up at your door?

Re:Not legal in USA (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44683335)

That's a relief. Now we're protected from all those wily "hackers" with their special "hack" things and stuff. All of us normals thank you and the law, good sir!

Jamming GSM & GPS (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44681895)

is probably not good if you live near a major airport , at night, in zero to low visibility

security (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44681941)

so these older cell systems have no security. no wonder the telcos want locked down hardware.

Super8 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44682015)

Internet is Malware :
http://amigodlosdebiles.wix.com/noun#!internet-is-malware/c5f

If they can respond to the messages... (1)

viperidaenz (2515578) | about 8 months ago | (#44682031)

If they can respond to the messages, can they read them too?

Glad I'm not a Vodafone customer anymore though. I'll be safe until they crack WCDMA

Re:If they can respond to the messages... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44694625)

Yes. By telling the network they don't support encryption, the network will deliver the SMS messages to their device unencrypted.

This came out in June last year at 29C3 [youtube.com] , it's hardly news.

best thing (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44687439)

well there is a device which i think would be more helpfull regarding the situation it is known as jammer but i dont think you can find so easily in USA because it is illigal in USA.
Cheap hajj Packages [cheaphajjandumrah.co.uk] | Cheap flights To Harare [travellax.co.uk]

Not News (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44694621)

This is not news, it was published at 29c3 LAST [h-online.com] > YEAR [youtube.com] .

Everyone should have known about this for over 12 months.

Check for New Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Sign up for Slashdot Newsletters
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...