1. gariac's Avatar
    The "stingray" has been making news again. If you haven't been following cell tower spoofing, the "stingray" is a commercial device that illegally spoofs a cell tower, but has become a generic term for any device spoofing a tower, i.e. hacker.

    The key to the bad guy hacking your phone is that the tower determines the level of encryption, not the handset.. In the US, we use A5/3. In oppressive countries that think their population doesn't deserve privacy, they use A5/0, or basically no encryption.

    If you know how to get your Blackberry in engineering screen mode, you can view your present level of encryption by
    utilities->ciphering .
    It indeed shows I have A5/3.

    Questions:
    1) Is there a warning on the phone if encryption falls to A5/0 or I suppose anything lower than A5/3?
    2) Is there an app or some way within the OS that will indicate the current level of encryption.

    This is useful background information.
    http://blog.taddong.com/2011/02/does...s-not.html?m=1

    The article claims the ability to see the encryption level depends also on the simcard. Now I suppose if you were in India, where you only get A5/0, they wouldn't want to make this too obvious, so the simcard is set up to hide that information from the customer.

    Sent from my BlackBerry 9780 using Tapatalk
    10-31-12 05:15 PM
  2. gariac's Avatar
    I guess we don't have any readers in India, or they can't get their phone in engineering screen mode.

    BTW, I left off the first line item to select to reach the cipher detection. This is the complete sequence.

    Mobile Network Engineering Screens ->
    Utilities ->
    Ciphering


    Sent from my BlackBerry 9780 using Tapatalk
    11-02-12 03:25 PM
  3. jeffh's Avatar
    I can get into the BlackBerry Engineering Screens, but I can't find Ciphering. It may not be available on Verizon networks.
    11-02-12 04:17 PM
  4. gariac's Avatar
    CDMA doesn't have the same security "features" as GSM, with features in quotes since I don't consider having no security a feature! Thanks for trying.

    BTW, supposedly CDMA towers report their geographical coordinates. You might want to check that out on your engineering screen for yucks. I only mention that because GSM doesn't have that feature. Most apps that report GSM tower locations use a database provided by google since tower locations are not sent by the tower. This google database is horribly inaccurate.


    Sent from my BlackBerry 9780 using Tapatalk
    11-02-12 05:53 PM
  5. jeffh's Avatar
    I don't see anything in the Engineering Screens that looks like coordinates or tower location information. I thought GSM towers transmitted that info and CDMA towers did not. I don't have any experience with GSM devices.
    11-02-12 06:46 PM
  6. gariac's Avatar
    It is the other way around. (CDMA yes, GSM no.)

    Check out
    www.cellumap.com
    http://f5bbutils.fairview5.com/signalloc5/

    Unfortunately Fairview no longer is working on cell tower sniffer software. Cellumap does a decent job, but it is more cloud oriented.

    A bit of a warning here on Cellumap. It puts all the phone information on its map. Because there aren't a lot of users of Cellumap, your phone looks unique. That is, you might be the only person using a Blackberry type X with OS Y. You still can't be identified UNLESS you run cellumap at your house. ;-) So beware when you hit the "send data" button. You wouldn't want to upload a hit at your house and then at some irreputable place like a bordello or Apple store.

    The "signal locator" from Fairview is useful because you can store the tower information on your mediacard. I used it in a area where I was roaming. I found a much stronger GSM service and logged the data on my phone. When I had the chance, I called T-mobile and gave them specific data on the tower. The next time I was there, I found T-Mobile added the company as a roaming partner.


    Sent from my BlackBerry 9780 using Tapatalk
    11-02-12 08:06 PM
  7. wu-wei's Avatar
    I'm on a GSM device and I'm showing A5/3 enabled. I don't know of any way (off hand) to set an alert for when it is disabled.

    I am also a fan of Fairview's utilities, but development has apparently stopped, and their latest version doesn't play well with my current OS.
    11-07-12 12:20 AM
  8. gariac's Avatar
    You didn't state your country, but I assume the vast majority of us will be on A5/3. But if someone finds different encryption, please let us know what and where.

    Also if there is a BB10 developer reading this, perhaps they can indicate if the API allows the cipher to be detected. That is an app I would pay for, especially if it detected a sudden change. Or maybe RIM should incorporate a feature to warn of A5/0. One of the reasons I use a Blackberry is not to get hacked.



    Sent from my BlackBerry 9780 using Tapatalk
    11-07-12 07:09 PM
  9. iamq's Avatar
    You might find the phone displays a padlock, or a small warning on the home screen when it falls back to a lower cipher. I don't have any access to a test network at the moment to try it on the BB

    I have very very old GSM phones which give me a unlocked padlock icon on my old test network - that was default, no special firmware or anything. I believe its part of the spec to tell a user when the default (higher cipher) is not being used and if there is any crypto in use or the call is fully clear.
    11-09-12 12:19 PM
  10. tomdooley's Avatar
    I'm from India, just checked, it's A5/3.

    Sent from my BlackBerry 9800 using Tapatalk
    11-16-12 02:00 PM
  11. gariac's Avatar
    Thanks for the India report. So much for what I read on the interwebs regarding A5/0 being used there..



    Sent from my BlackBerry 9780 using Tapatalk
    11-18-12 11:29 PM

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