1. Kyle27's Avatar
    In a cache of leaked NSA documents posted online today by author/journalist Glenn Greenwald, one slide outlines the GCHQ's ability to access BlackBerry devices on a GPRS connection.

    GCHQ able to track BlackBerrys in Flight-bbgprs2.png

    If you're not connected to a GPRS network, I wouldn't worry too much about this. GPRS/EDGE/UMTS have been known to be vulnerable for a long time.

    It isn't clear exactly when they gained this ability, or what the "further details of usage" are.

    Source: Glenn Greenwald / "No Place To Hide" Documents (PDF)

    The above slide can be found on page 91 of the PDF document in the link.
    05-13-14 06:27 AM
  2. Branta's Avatar
    Suspicious... this claims GCHQ can intercept devices which are (a) supposed to be shut down and (b) often out of range or otherwise unable to connect to cellular networks. On the face of it there would be a higher probability of cellular interception for devices in normal ground use with full connectivity. However in reality any attempt to intercept the radio link is difficult, unreliable, and expensive when compared to the ease of intercepting via the cellular network's NOC or interception of internet traffic.

    ISTM this finally discredits Snowden as a fake and Greenwald as a publicity seeking money grubber.
    05-13-14 06:52 AM
  3. ZackMeC's Avatar
    I have always considered removable batteries to be a big part of security. I hope the next few high end devices have removable batteries. It's true that if your device (phone, computer, tablet) is off, but the battery is in, it's not really off. Hackers / government can access it, your camera, microphone, etc.

    Posted via CB10
    05-17-14 06:52 AM
  4. badiyee's Avatar
    There is a logical flaw with the statement.

    Let's assume that GPRS is indeed compromise-able.

    My questions are of the following:


    Let's assume that this thing was done during the BlackBerry legacy period days (i'm not so sure how BlackBerry 10 is effected, but i'm sure this has been like waaaaaaay back, since Snowden does claim things like its been done for a long time)


    (just fyi, unofficially, the officials in my country believe Snowden. At least those whom I talk to believe them to be at least 90% true)

    1. Wasn't BlackBerry BIS's implementation of GPRS / EDGE / UMTS data different from normal carriers because of the way BIS is written?

    2. Since when BlackBerry wanted to anonymize the PINs, since the PINs are one of the pillars of BlackBerry legacy devices' security features?

    3. If a person is supposed to turn off their phones in flight (my country does not allow flight mode, but people just do it anyway), and in particularly BlackBerry devices, how the hell can they trace an already turned off device IN FLIGHT?
    05-17-14 07:04 AM
  5. cgk's Avatar
    Why do people get turned off from? Looking at the slides in context, it involves phones making use of airline provided connections in flight no mention I can find of phones that are switched off or have battery removed.
    05-17-14 04:00 PM
  6. anon3230140's Avatar
    Who cares about this type of crizzap tho? I hate nerds.

    Posted via CB10 on my Z mfk'n 10!
    peednus likes this.
    05-17-14 04:14 PM
  7. crazigee's Avatar
    I find this very hard to believe. Sounds a bit like a it came for the same conspiracy theorists that claim 9/11 was orchestrated by Bush.

    Posted using my Z10 via CB10
    05-19-14 09:12 PM
  8. Branta's Avatar
    Why do people get turned off from? Looking at the slides in context, it involves phones making use of airline provided connections in flight no mention I can find of phones that are switched off or have battery removed.
    So the obvious place to intercept is when the aircraft's data stream arrives at the service provider's ground station. That's not "tracking BlackBerry" more like "tracking any and all devices" which use the stream, either from a specific aircraft or through a specific ground station or even whole service provider. You can be pretty sure they won't have a satellite sniffing the low power WiFi link between the device and aircraft interface against the general background of terrestrial WiFi noise, and the aircraft skin should block or attenuate most signals which might try to escape to the outside world.
    05-20-14 04:21 AM
  9. szlevi's Avatar
    Suspicious...
    Quite the opposite, it's rather trivial...

    this claims GCHQ can intercept devices which are (a) supposed to be shut down and
    First, it claims nothing like that, you are confused by your own blind bias and resorting to make up stuff - they are actually talking about 2G (GPRS /EDGE) data use which clearly means the phones IN USE.
    Second, cell phones, like most decent trunked (radio) system, always had options for remote activation, ask anyone who ever took basic courses on the subject - there is a reason why every security training starts with 'take the battery off your phone'... (remember the story when Snowden asked journos to turn off their phones then put all of them into the refrigerator? That's a trick against non-removable batteries. )

    (b) often out of range or otherwise unable to connect to cellular networks.
    ...err no, it IS connected, that's the point. But onboard systems use picocells which in turn use satellite systems to relay the data - in other words the NSA/ GCHQ (its a tandem project, called "Homing Pigeon"/"Thieving Magpie", accordingly) is trying to have access to communication that's TAKING PLACE ON THE PLANE at 30k feet high, away from any ground networks.

    On the face of it there would be a higher probability of cellular interception for devices in normal ground use with full connectivity.
    Sure - except this slide specifically deals with in-flight eavesdropping and if they can not ID the originating device there's nothing to capture on the ground (internet), don't you think?

    However in reality any attempt to intercept the radio link is difficult, unreliable, and expensive when compared to the ease of intercepting via the cellular network's NOC or interception of internet traffic.
    Except that's what they are talking about: they HAVE to hack into the GPRS data stream to ID THE PHONE THAT INITIATES THE COMMUNICATION so they can track the other end of it.

    ISTM this finally discredits Snowden as a fake and Greenwald as a publicity seeking money grubber.
    But that's just you and your bias-induced inability to read and interpret a fairly obvious slide and its context.
    Last edited by szlevi; 05-20-14 at 11:08 PM.
    Omnitech likes this.
    05-20-14 10:54 PM
  10. szlevi's Avatar
    So the obvious place to intercept is when the aircraft's data stream arrives at the service provider's ground station. That's not "tracking BlackBerry" more like "tracking any and all devices" which use the stream, either from a specific aircraft or through a specific ground station or even whole service provider.
    Yes, That's their goal. However this particular slide only mentions BB, for whatever reason (presumably because it was always deemed to be more secure by the populace?)

    You can be pretty sure they won't have a satellite sniffing the low power WiFi link between the device and aircraft interface against the general background of terrestrial WiFi noise, and the aircraft skin should block or attenuate most signals which might try to escape to the outside world.
    AGain, why would they bother? They apparently spent almost a billion dollar to make sure they can hack THE ONBOARD CELLS on planes, just to make sure they CAN sniff all traffic (internet, calls etc) that takes place in flight and they can track real-time on the ground, what's so complicated to grasp here I don't know...
    05-20-14 11:00 PM
  11. szlevi's Avatar
    People, GPRS was long considered insecure, that's not even a surprise that they are "using" (=exploiting) it - the bigger work here was to gain reliable access to the picocells on planes. Impressive tradecraft, I must admit.
    05-20-14 11:03 PM
  12. Omnitech's Avatar
    If you look at the slide in the OP, it's an extremely limited kind of data collection they're referring-to there.

    They can produce "events" - eg "phone just connected to network", "phone has an active data link", "device has PIN 0x3044AB47", etc.

    What that tells me is not much, really. "Identifying PIN and associated email address" probably just means that they have a cross-reference - most likely provided directly by BlackBerry - that cross-references a list of active PINs along with email addresses assigned by BlackBerry. As in "blackberry.net" addresses assigned to BIS users that not many people use nowadays anyway. Remember that Snowden's data is historical, BlackBerry 10 didn't exist in those days.

    GCHQ already taps into carrier networks - or just asks carriers for access - so they can collect, at the very least, the infamous "metadata" that we hear so much about nowadays. That's all that would be required for the kinds of "data collection" that it appears the slide in the OP refers-to.
    05-23-14 09:16 PM
  13. Omnitech's Avatar
    Who cares about this type of crizzap tho? I hate nerds.

    You're hanging-out with the wrong crowd.
    menshawy likes this.
    05-23-14 09:17 PM
  14. Omnitech's Avatar
    ISTM this finally discredits Snowden as a fake and Greenwald as a publicity seeking money grubber.


    Snowden is not a fake, though Greenwald may be a bit of a publicity seeker. In particular the money behind the news organization that he recently co-founded was provided by a guy with a questionable reputation and personal axe to grind, and Assange was none-too-happy about it.
    05-23-14 09:20 PM
  15. Dave Bourque's Avatar
    Who cares about this type of crizzap tho? I hate nerds.

    Posted via CB10 on my Z mfk'n 10!
    Nerds built the internet, your cellphone and computers... you hate all the things you love apparently. Nerd....

    Z10STL100-3/10.2.1.2141
    Omnitech and menshawy like this.
    05-23-14 09:38 PM
  16. crazigee's Avatar
    Nerds built the internet, your cellphone and computers... you hate all the things you love apparently. Nerd....

    Z10STL100-3/10.2.1.2141
    Haha. Good one. lol.

    Posted using my Z10 via CB10
    05-25-14 08:25 PM
  17. Raestloz's Avatar
    Nerds built the internet, your cellphone and computers... you hate all the things you love apparently. Nerd....

    Z10STL100-3/10.2.1.2141
    I bet it was a Nerd that found the Fire. Probably linked to some weird combination of WOOD and rock fetish

    Z10 STL100-1/10.2.1.2141
    menshawy likes this.
    05-26-14 10:43 AM
  18. szlevi's Avatar


    Snowden is not a fake, though Greenwald may be a bit of a publicity seeker. In particular the money behind the news organization that he recently co-founded was provided by a guy with a questionable reputation and personal axe to grind, and Assange was none-too-happy about it.
    You are really confused, I think - got pretty much wrong, exactly the opposite way... do you ever check before you write something?
    1. First Look Media is financed by Pierre Omidyar, pretty openly, no hidden facts here: First Look Media - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    2. Omidyar is probably the "cleanest" (in terms of background) money guy you can ask for, with an absolutely shining reputation: he is the sole founder of eBay, he is worth around ~$8-10B, probably in the for 100-150 richest person on the planet, all made by himself (yes, he is a well-educated guy from a well-off, well-educated French background but still, he had an idea and while he was surprised how well it worked he knew how to execute; it is clearly his achievement.) He since poured more than a BILLION dollar of his OWN money into the Omidyar Group, a non-profit tasked to advance social and political development all over the globe, to help the progress in not-exactly-free countries (think of another very helpful freedom-fighter, George Soros but with less money-related issues in the eyes of the Teatards): How Pierre Omidyar Turned of eBay An Idealistic Notion Into Billions Of Dollars | Inc.com
    3. Not only Assange did NOT have any bad words about him but he was actually using him as an example that when someone with all the money he has feels the worlds is not free enough so he is willing to pour money into a free press outlet instead of bribing politicians and courts etc to get his way then you have to wonder just how bad things are getting out there, mainly due to the level of state-sanctioned surveillance...
    Here: Julian Assange to SXSW crowd: Even billionaire Pierre Omidyar sees that there's no real liberty | VentureBeat | Security | by Tom Cheredar
    As a matter of fact Assange went so far as he called these reporters a "quite positive phenomenon": Julian Assange at SXSW: 'national security reporters are a new kind of refugee' | The Verge
    05-26-14 08:56 PM
  19. crazigee's Avatar
    You are really confused, I think - got pretty much wrong, exactly the opposite way... do you ever check before you write something?
    1. First Look Media is financed by Pierre Omidyar, pretty openly, no hidden facts here: First Look Media - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    2. Omidyar is probably the "cleanest" (in terms of background) money guy you can ask for, with an absolutely shining reputation: he is the sole founder of eBay, he is worth around ~$8-10B, probably in the for 100-150 richest person on the planet, all made by himself (yes, he is a well-educated guy from a well-off, well-educated French background but still, he had an idea and while he was surprised how well it worked he knew how to execute; it is clearly his achievement.) He since poured more than a BILLION dollar of his OWN money into the Omidyar Group, a non-profit tasked to advance social and political development all over the globe, to help the progress in not-exactly-free countries (think of another very helpful freedom-fighter, George Soros but with less money-related issues in the eyes of the Teatards): How Pierre Omidyar Turned of eBay An Idealistic Notion Into Billions Of Dollars | Inc.com
    3. Not only Assange did NOT have any bad words about him but he was actually using him as an example that when someone with all the money he has feels the worlds is not free enough so he is willing to pour money into a free press outlet instead of bribing politicians and courts etc to get his way then you have to wonder just how bad things are getting out there, mainly due to the level of state-sanctioned surveillance...
    Here: Julian Assange to SXSW crowd: Even billionaire Pierre Omidyar sees that there's no real liberty | VentureBeat | Security | by Tom Cheredar
    As a matter of fact Assange went so far as he called these reporters a "quite positive phenomenon": Julian Assange at SXSW: 'national security reporters are a new kind of refugee' | The Verge
    Assange isn't a reputable source that I'd be quoting.

    Posted using my Z10 via CB10
    05-27-14 02:47 AM
  20. szlevi's Avatar
    Assange isn't a reputable source that I'd be quoting.

    Posted using my Z10 via CB10
    Ummm... what?
    He was mis-quoting Assange, I was correcting him - WTF does it have to do with your opinion about Assange as a reputable source...? Moreover I don't get it: you don't think Assange as a reputable source when it comes to quoting HIMSELF....?


    Seriously: do you people even read the freaking post you decide to reply to with some inane crap like this...?
    05-27-14 10:04 AM
  21. crazigee's Avatar
    Ummm... what?
    He was mis-quoting Assange, I was correcting him - WTF does it have to do with your opinion about Assange as a reputable source...? Moreover I don't get it: you don't think Assange as a reputable source when it comes to quoting HIMSELF....?


    Seriously: do you people even read the freaking post you decide to reply to with some inane crap like this...?
    Clearly you don't understand what I was saying. I'm saying that it doesn't really matter one way or the other whether the quote is correct, because it isn't worth anything because Assange isn't a credible source for anything.

    Posted using my Z10 via CB10
    05-27-14 05:37 PM

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