Skip to comments.Pocket Spies (Yon on smart phone dangers)
Posted on 11/18/2011 6:14:45 AM PST by Travis McGee
17 November 2011
We know the Internet has dangers. Everything we put onto the information superhighway should be considered chiseled into marble. Meanwhile, those smartphones that so many of us carry are tantamount to carrying hostile spies in our pockets. If the battery is charged and in the phone, the phone is a homing beacon whether its on or off. Now add services such as Facebook, and those excellent phone cameras with geotagging, and there is a combination for disaster.
This has relevancy for our troops in Afghanistan. During certain missions, I would not even take my smartphones. On or off, I did not want to take the chance. Probably made no difference, but its better safe than to get our people hurt. It is important that troops make sure that journalists and Interpreters do not take smartphones during certain sorts of missions. Also, if you get blown up, that smartphone might go sailing through the air and be found by the enemy. If they crack into it, they might have a treasure chest. The last unit that I had the honor to cover was 4-4 Cav. They were good about reminding about the smartphones but some other units dont pay attention.
My Facebook has more than 48,000 readers. They come from just about any country imaginable, and many walks of life. A few days ago, I was browsing through the menus trying to learn more about Facebook, which amounts to a passive intelligence agency of sorts. This is especially true if you have Facebook (or other similar services) on your smartphone.
And so, with my iPhone4s using a Facebook app, I touched the tab called Nearby. An incredible amount of actionable intelligence scrolled on. One friend was at the Sheraton at the Pentagon. Another was at the Pentagon. I emailed to her and she confirmed. Another was at the VA Hospital in Long Beach. Ruby Tuesday. iHop. Starbucks Fort Polk. Times Square. Pacific Grill. Home sweet home. Octapharma Plasma. China Café. FBI Academy. Tahlequah Dialysis Unit. Columbus State University. AJs Pizza. Farellis Pizza. Palladium Theatre. Home. Crossroads Christian Church. 24 Hour Fitness Mission Valley California. The Exchange Hotel.
And on and on. With my iPhone, I could track their smartphones in real time.
Some people were also typing entries (just got on the train) and they were being tracked. One young Thai woman was typing entries and finally posted she was home at her condo in Bangkok. At the same time, another was 12 time zones away at X-treme Rockclimbing Gym in Miami, Florida.
Touch one button and GoogleMaps instantly appears showing the precise location. Touch one more button and there is a choice: Open in Maps, Get Directions, Cancel.
(Read the rest at the link. I'm not "blog pimping" for Michael Yon, but I don't want to rip him off by posting it all here. If you are not familiar with Michael Yon, you should be.)
Why a CW2 ping for a tech story? Because I'm convinced that the most critical "battle space" of any CW2 will be cyber space. To that end, I've made the use and misuse of the internet, cell phones and smart phones a key part of my novels.
Too many folks are preparing for some kind of guerrilla warfare in the woods, and they have every bit of tactical gear imaginable.
But the real front in CW2 will involve locating enemies via the internet and this type of tracking technology, and then "disappearing" or "accidenting" or otherwise disposing of them.
Folks, please carefully consider the cyber front in your CW2 thinking.
Agree with you wholeheartedly. It adds a fourth dimension that can only be ignored at one's own peril.
Important post. Thanks for the ping.
Hey! That's my sons' unit!
Wow. Just wow.
Thanks very much for posting this. When the balloon goes up Step 1 will be finding ways to take advantage of this technology for my purposes. Remember my friend, if they can do it to us, we can do it right back to them.
How hard would it be to duct tape a smart device to a vehicle and track that sucker where ever it goes? Just a thought...
I need to brush up on mine.
My smart phone comes with an option for tracking kids. It reports back on where they are (or at least where the phone is). There's also this special purpose device.
I'm thinking Navajo...
” How hard would it be to duct tape a smart device to a vehicle and track that sucker where ever it goes? Just a thought...”
While updating Facebook with “going to visit grandparents in Fla” while actually heading to the bunker in Montana.
All kinds of ways to screw with them.
you should look at packet using programs like fldigi instead of sending code for minutes you send a packet with all the info in seconds
with a modern hf vhf uhf such as the yaesu ft-897 a tnc and a laptop you are set
now days a ham license no longer requires code test are not that hard to pass
Yes, it is becoming increasingly hard to go “dark”.
How do we jiu jitsu these electronic intrusions?
btw, just last night I saw the first commercial for Gov’t Motors’ “OnStar for everybody” system. You can now pay Obama to have yourself surveilled 24/7.
yeah - but I think the original poster was making the point that going back to the old ways was a better way of keeping things local (though short wave doesn’t do a good job of that?)
Morse and Semaphore are going to give you line-of-site. Don’t want to broadcast to everyone! If you were a Scout in the 70’s or earlier - you likely have a rusty version of these skills!
It would be hard at all to put on a car or whatever, but how are you going to keep it charged up? The cig lighter under the fender well?
Nothing beats the Semaphore Version of Wuthering Heights http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kqiUGjghlzU
The second I believe we are in a world of sh*t is the moment I cancel my involvement with the Internet and cell phone services. I’ll keep the Internet as far as it stays on for reading purposes, but I won’t be posting anywhere on unsecured web sites. I have other means of communications past cell phones that would be much more beneficial.
Just turning FR off would be a serious disruption, never mind cell phones being a “where is X now” service.
Bump for later....
Okay, techno-types, how do I disable the gizmos in my cell phone (can I, legally do so-if the answer is no, I have the intell I need)? I understand triagulation will always be there, but what about remving the GPS capability?
Do burn phones come equipped with GPS as well?
would = wouldn’t
Thanks for the information. Why do you recommend that transceiver over the others?
That’s cool! Ask him if he ever ran into Yon.
I wish I knew.
I imagine that down in the fusion centers, they have intersting algorithms for flagging persons of interest.
A simple matter of assigning a “risk coefficient” to all of us, and all websites and cell phones. Then, when a “risky” individual contacts another, or visits “problem” websites, the multiplied “high risk coefficients” trigger little alarms.
The alarms might be in real time, as in, “Oh, look at this, this right wing nut job Joe Blow in Florida is learning all about making silencers today.”
Or it might be long term and cumulative, assigning us all a “weighted risk number,” for the Night of Long Knives when a purge could be carried out, with the intention of decapitating the potential leadership of the opposition.
I think a lot of lessons are being learned in Libya, Egypt and Syria about using the internet to target state enemies and enemy groups. Many a sad mother in Syria is telling the same tearful story about how her son was grabbed in the night from his bed by State Security arrest teams.
Picked up to be tortured and killed, based on his data-mined internet and cell phone use.
You don’t think our DHS could do the same? Eventually? At least, they have the technical capability to do so.
Not sure, but you'd get a couple of days out of it. That could be enough. Or you could use multiple devices over a period of time I guess.
Well - actually there is a sub-branch that used a single flag to send Morse also. The Navy used it, along with semaphore - then there was the naval flash signaling as well between ships. Again these are meant to be line-of-site.
As for 2m or 70cm - agreed there aren’t too many people sending CW there. At the same time - since Techs didn’t have to learn the code - not many people there to understand what you said!
Long story short, it would be extremely difficult, and would not make you effectively harder to track.
Do burn phones come equipped with GPS as well?
Not all phones are GPS enabled. As a rule of thumb, the older and cheaper the handset, the less likely it is to have GPS features. It'll say on the box either way.
I wish I knew.
There is an interesting mission in Modern Warfare 3 (just released, already sold 10+ million copies) where the Delta team is lured into an ambush after tracking a hostage's cell phone. Seems the team of kidnappers knew that the Americans were listening and tracking, and simply laid some bait.
I suppose 'Akido' would be more apt than Jiu Jitsu. When you know the direction and force of the enemy's move, it becomes easy to counter and re-direct. I've read in open source material that this sort of thing has been done in real life, as well.
People always love the technical solutions, up until you get hit by a tidal wave of false positives, or get lured off target by people throwing smoke. Computers help, but it's men that truly analyze.
On that note, an interesting thing that people in Iraq or Afghanistan discovered inadvertently was a body of knowledge gained by 'insurgent Darwinism'. Everyone can have a theory about certain American capabilities, but after a while, a clear pattern emerges as far as who meets our threshold to bother to come after. Who gets targeted. Who gets away. Who gets caught. Who gets released. How long our ROE leash is. What our raids look like. What the process is.
After a while, it turns into a game, where the insurgents understand our capabilities and routines better than we do. Americans specialize at certain tasks. We're often cogs who are only vaguely aware of how other parts of the machine operate. A captured insurgent, in his own way, experiences the whole system. And shares it.
Whether or not you're looking to hide, or looking to be found, it won't take long to determine what to do, for those that are paying attention.
Good points—if you are left alone and still standing after a decapitation purge. If it comes to that.
Then again, if America jumps the rails and goes full bloody purge on dissidents, like Syria or Iran, then a lot of the first wave of totalitarians won't survive round 1, either.
Because this isn't Syria or Iran. Here, the hunters would also become the hunted.
I think one of the major interests of the nascent American totalitarians is to figure out how to find the 'sweet spot' of cracking down without triggering a systemic backlash. We're heading towards that confrontation, but the right cards haven't been dealt yet. All we can do in the meantime is keep our eyes and ears open, and be ready.
Welcome back to 1998.
I agree with that. Astute observation about the sweet spot of soft socialist tyranny. One problem is that events may force the economy off the rails so severely that we could be thrust into martial law conditions very swiftly. Under martial law in this country I would expect so much âfrictionâ that a low-intensity war would spring up almost the way it did after our invasion of Iraq. Just Americans either forcing roadblocks, or saying, âScrew you sonny, but you can’t block this road here.â From there tit for tat shootings until we’re in the first continent-wide sniper war. No tyrant yet ever tried to crack down on maybe 50 million people who own 400-yard-plus deer rifles. I just can’t find a parallel. But lessons from former Yugoslavia prove that just rifles alone can make an urban area a pure hell of âsniper allies,â where in many cases psychopaths with rifles enjoyed wounding civilians in open areas, to lure in rescuers, to continue his pleasure. That is just one aspect of a national sniper war.
Do you have a point? Did I miss it?
“Whether or not you’re looking to hide, or looking to be found, it won’t take long to determine what to do, for those that are paying attention. “
The more things change - the more they stay the same.
They’ll never execute or persecute a citizen, they’ll call him a “Domestic Terrorist” first.
The term “Information Superhighway” was popular phraseology back in the late 80s early 90s. I thought the author using it quaint.
I wondered if that was your only point, or if there was something else.