Build Your Own GSM Base Station For Fun And Profit

Over the past few years, news of police, military and intelligence agencies using portable cell phone monitoring devices — colloquially known as “Stingrays” — has surfaced, despite their best efforts to keep the practice under wraps. There are legitimate privacy concerns and legal issues, but there’s also some fun technology in cell phone docking stations.

Off-the-shelf Stingray devices cost anywhere between $16,000 and $125,000, too much for a poor hacker’s pocket. Of course, what the government can do for $100,000, anyone else can do for five hundred. Here’s how you can build your own Stingray using off-the-shelf hardware.

[Simone] has been playing with a brand new one BladeRF x40, a USB 3.0 software-defined radio that operates in full duplex. It costs $420. This combined with two rubber antennas, a Raspberry Pi 3 and a USB power bank is all the hardware you need. The software is a bit more complicated, but [Simone] has all the instructions.

Of course, if you want to explore the less legitimate uses of this hardware, [Simone]The build of is only good on receiving/eavesdropping/intercepting unencrypted GSM signals. It’s great if you want to put up a few base stations at Burning Man and hand out SIM cards like ecstasy, but GSM has encryption. You won’t be able to decipher every GSM signal this system can see without a little work.

Fortunately, GSM is horribly, horribly broken. At CCCamp in 2007, [Steve Schear] and [David Hulton] started the construction of the A5 arc table, which is used in a GSM network between the handset and the tower. GSM hacking is open sourceand there are flaws in GPRS, the method GSM networks use to relay data transmissions to phones. If you haven’t noticed, the GSM is completely broken.

thanks [Justin] for the top.

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