Mysterious Rise of Fake Mobile Phone Towers
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September 4, 2014

Somebody appears to be erecting a network of fake cell phone towers around the US … many of them apparently in or very close to military bases … which appear to be intercepting portable telephone calls on their way to legitimate masts. It also appears that these masts are forcing an portable phones in contact with them to switch to older and less secure network protocols - although whether or not they are taking advantage of these to hack the phones in question is not clear.


Original Story

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Game and Story Use

  • If the towers are actually on US military bases then the American Government - or at least some aspect of it - is the most likely culprit for this. On the other hand, if they are just very close to US military bases, suspicion then falls on "certain foreign powers" (notably China and Russia).
  • The cost of cell tower masts means that whoever is behind this is likely to be spending a lot of money - again, this points to a government of some kind.
  • Various conspiracy groups are also possible suspects - although, as always, this doesn't mean that it wasn't the agents of some government or the other that put them up.
  • Speaking of which, just because someone is spying on the US, that doesn't necessarily need to mean that they are foreign - perhaps one US government agency is spying on another.
  • There's also the cock-up hypothesis - perhaps someone is re-using obsolete cell-phone towers to monitor traffic for a (relatively) innocent reason (hence the out of date protocols) such as determining network load or modelling an infrastructure system for self-driving cars.
    • That doesn't mean that the security loophole couldn't be exploited by someone else.
    • Or that the conspiracy didn't mean for that to happen all along…
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