Block Second Generation GSM texts and calls

Subject: General Tech, Mobile | August 26, 2013 - 10:05 AM |
Tagged: sweet justice, GSM, hack

[H]ard|OCP has stumbled upon some research even more wonderful than TV-B-Gone, a way to mod your GSM phone to be able to block the reception of phone calls and texts on cellphones using the same provider as you do.  No longer will idiots who are unable to watch a movie in the theater without constantly calling their friends to let them know what they think of it impinge upon your experience.  The hack essentially makes your phone respond to every query from the phone provider as being the target device for the call or text and thanks to a tweak to the software on the phones baseband processor the hacked phone responds to that query before the legitimate phone has a chance.  This will not work on 3G or 4G phones as it is only effective against GSM but the researchers who developed the tweak estimate that 11 modified phones would be enough to completely take down the ability of Germany's third largest provider to provide service in a single cell.

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"By making simple modifications to common Motorola phones, researchers in Berlin have shown they can block calls and text messages intended for nearby people connected to the same cellular network. The method works on the second-generation (2G) GSM networks that are the most common type of cell network worldwide. In the U.S., both AT&T and T-Mobile carry calls and text messages using GSM network."

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Source: [H]ard|OCP

Upping the ante on tenable celluar signals

Subject: General Tech | November 8, 2012 - 10:20 AM |
Tagged: antenna, 4g, LTE, 3g, GSM

The duties of a mobile phone have changed drastically over the past decade, starting as a simple voice communications tool and evolving into today's video phones, movie players and occasionally productivity tools.  There is one thing inside every cell phone which has not changed at the same pace but is vital to the functionality of the phone, the antenna.  As the expectations of fast transfer speeds rise with the advent of new communication standards like LTE, phone manufacturers are faced with two growing problems.  The first is the diminishing tolerances allowed on the antennas, while less than perfect tuning was acceptable for GSM you cannot let the tuning slip with higher bandwidth standards.  The second is the growing electronic background noise which is omnipresent and growing each year, causing degradation of your cellular signal. The solution might be RF-MEMS ( Radio Frequency Micro-ElectroMechanical Systems) antennas with software controllable tuning which could ease the difficulties of providing tighter tolerances and boosting signals.  The Inquirer covers two companies working on this technology here.

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"Smartphones nowadays come with big screens, megapixel-packed cameras and, thanks to apps, many, many more features than anyone could have dreamed of in the early days of mobile telephony. It has even reached the stage where making telephone calls is just one small part of a modern phone. And yet the need to support all the radio technologies punters expect to be able to use, for voice and for data, ensures that wireless communications is still the hardest part of a phone’s design to get right."

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Source: The Register