Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Remote Control Technology - Interfering With Mobile Phones, IEDs and Vehicles

Scratching at the Surface of


This post scratches at the surface of what communications and electronic technology is commercially available today and has been used in the past by Terrorists, the Armed Forces and Security Services. We can not ignore the fact that this technology was available first in many cases, to the Armed Forces and Security Services.

Everyone knows James Bond and his many gadgets. Personally, I find 007 rather Embarrassing. Why? He has fueled the fantasises of too many men. Regardless, People should have a serious interest in 007 technology and gadgets because they often become reality later.

Bond Gadgets: Never Say They Will Never Work - 28 May 2008 - NewScientist.com



GPS Tracking - A GPS tracking unit is a device that uses the Global Positioning System to determine the precise location of a vehicle, person, or other asset to which it is attached and to record the position of the asset at regular intervals. Such systems are not new; amateur radio operators have been operating their free GPS based nationwide realtime Automatic Position Reporting System since 1982.

Questions & Answer Time - GPS Trackers - (18 May 2008)

Using the GPS for People Tracking including Mobile to Mobile Tracking (April 2008) Some tracking solutions enable you to access tracking maps on a mobile device. The ability to track someone using a cell phone, by using another cell phone ....

FBI Taps Cell Phone Mic as Eavesdropping Tool (December 2006) - CNET News.com
The FBI appears to have begun using a novel form of electronic surveillance in criminal investigations: remotely activating a mobile phone's microphone and using it to eavesdrop on nearby conversations. The technique is called a "roving bug," and was approved by top U.S. Department of Justice officials for use against members of a New York organized crime family who were wary of conventional surveillance techniques such as tailing a suspect or wiretapping him.

'This goes no further...' (2 March 2004) BBC. Following revelations about bugging at the United Nations, is there any way of ensuring that your private conversations stay that way? The most powerful tool for the modern spy is the mobile phone. Mobiles that double as listening devices can be bought over the internet.

Remotely Activated Mobile Phone Microphones
Some mobile phone microphones can be activated remotely, without any need for physical access, even when the phone is switched off. This roving bug feature is reportedly being used by law enforcement agencies and intelligence services to listen in on nearby conversations. While it is not possible to do this with every mobile phone as of 2006, some models are susceptible to being remotely reprogrammed (over the air using methods meant for delivering upgrades (Firmware updates) and maintenance) with this capability without the knowledge of its owner. Examples for such mobile phones are Motorola Razr and Samsung 900 series mobile phones.

Mobile Tracking Devices on Trial (24 February 2006) Your mobile phone is a beacon - a radio transmitter in a box. Therefore it is possible to trace the signal and work out where it is. There are now several web companies which will track your friends' and family's phones for you, so you always know where they are.

F.B.I. Seeks Access to Mobile Phone Locations (17 July 1998) - Director Louis J. Freeh of the F.B.I. has asked members of a Senate committee to change the Justice Department appropriations bill to require telephone companies to provide police agencies with the precise location of cellular phone users, in some cases without a court order. After learning last week of Mr. Freeh's meeting with members of the Appropriations Committee, civil liberties groups and the telecommunications industry began marshaling opposition. Privacy advocates say the proposal is a dangerous and unconstitutional invasion of privacy, and the telecommunications industry predicts that implementing such a law would cost billions of dollars.

Cell Phone Spy Extracts Deleted Texts, Data (25 February 2008) INFORMATION WEEK - BrickHouse Security sells a small, portable SIM card reader that it says can retrieve deleted messages and data from cell phones.


IEDS (Improvised Explosive Device) and MOBILE PHONES - PAST AND FUTURE

Network Technologies for Networked Terrorists - Assessing the Value of Information and Communication Technologies to Modern Terrorist Organizations - RAND Homeland Security

Early generations of terrorist detonation devices could frequently be jammed because they could only receive transmitted signals on a limited number of frequencies. In the future, a single PDA or smart phone will likely be able to receive information using conventional cell-phone signals or WiFi, as well as Bluetooth or other available communication signals. The diversity of signals could make jamming devices based on these technologies difficult. Furthermore, in certain areas, wireless communication on those frequencies may be so critical to providing emergency services or other public or private functions that it may not be possible to jam them at all.



Powered Portable Cellphone Jammers - The C-Guard EXP is a portable cellphone jamming device that can block different cellular frequency bands and networks simultaneously, used by EOD (Explosive Ordnance Disposal) units to prevent detonation while the team neutralizes Cellular IED threats and satellite phone IED threats. Attached to explosive devices or home made bombs, the cellphones can be operated from any distance, allowing terrorists to escape from crime arena and activate the improvised bomb remotely. The cell phone attached to the IED acts as a receiver, once it receives a signal from a phone transmitter it causes detonation.

Remotely Initiated IEDs: GSM Phones and Beyond - Scoping Paper
. OSS.Net Survey of RC IEDs - Southeast Asia - Feb 2003 - Oct 2005. Prepared by OSS Southeast Asia Division October 2005. This brief scoping paper is based on over 5,000 news items warehoused by OSS Southeast Asia, and additional OSINT collection. At the end of the paper is a table of gisted reports of those IED incidents reported to be remotely initiated, together with other items such as reports of counter-measures. The focus is Indonesia, Thailand, Philippines.

Curbing the Roadside Bomber JANES Security News (12 December 2005) - Rupert Pengelley - The proliferation of remote-control improvised explosive devices in Iraq and Afghanistan has led to a seesawing battle between measure and countermeasure technologies. Terrorists first began to make significant use of radio transmitters and other forms of commercially available remote-control (RC) switches to initiate improvised explosive devices (IEDs) in the 1980s. Since then the business of countering such initiators has been kept under wraps for understandable operational reasons.

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MADRID BOMBINGS - How The (Mobile Phone) Devices Worked JANES Terrorism & Insurgency Center - JTIC TERRORISM CASE STUDY No.1 : THE MADRID RAIL BOMBINGS

The devices used mobile phones as initiation mechanisms, with the language settings in Spanish. Each mobile phone was pre-set to alarm at a designated time and set on vibrate mode. It is understood that the IEDs were not booby-trapped. The ability to wire a mobile phone ringer circuit to a detonating cap is a delicate operation that requires an individual to be well trained.

The use of mobile phone triggers is now well within the capabilities of a variety of Islamist militant groups, including elements of the Zarqawi network, Jemaah Islamiyya (JI) and Palestinian factions. National separatist groups such as ETA and the Provisional Irish Republican Army (PIRA) are also well-versed in such techniques and were among the first groups to use them successfully.

Terrorists have noted operational failures stemming from the incorrect setting of a phone's alarm. This sometimes prompts the use of remote 'detonation-on-demand' tactics, which may involve calling or sending text messages to the mobile phone. Terrorists are also aware of the risks of identification through inadvertent capture and analysis of the SIM card and various methods have been used in an effort to overcome this. However, for security reasons, the specific details cannot be discussed here.

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WASHINGTON -- Cell phones found during the investigation of the recent terrorist bombing in Saudi Arabia were rigged to detonate explosives by remote control, the FBI said Wednesday, urging U.S. law enforcement officials to be on the lookout for such devices.

FBI: Cell Phones Triggered Bombs - 11 June 2003

Cell phones trigger bombs (Bali Bombings) - 10 July 2003

Bomb outside Jakarta Hotel was detonated by a mobile phone (7 August 2003)

Police say foreign terror groups involved in Andhra blast Hyderabad (19 May 2007)

The IED problem is getting out of control. We've got to stop the bleeding.' PART 1 (of 4) - (30 September 2007) - Washington Post

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Dickmann's Mercedes 500 SEL

1994: Autonomous vision-based VaMP robot of Dickmanns and UniBW drives in Paris traffic, tracking up to 12 other cars simultaneously. The "VAmP" Mercedes 500 SEL drives more than 1000 km on the Paris multi-lane ring, up to 130 km/h, automatically passing slower cars in the left lane.

1995: UniBW Munich's fast Mercedes robot does 1,000 autonomous miles on the highway - in traffic. The famous S-class car of Dickmanns and UniBW autonomously drives 1,678 km on public Autobahns from Munich to Denmark and back, at up to 180 km/h, automatically passing other cars.

Driverless car - / Smart car - / Mercedes Benz S-Class robots - / Automotive technologies - / Driverless cars / Autonomous Vehicle

Vehicle Tracking System - A vehicle tracking system is an electronic device installed in a vehicle to enable the owner or a third party to track the vehicle's location. Most modern vehicle tracking systems use Global Positioning System (GPS) modules for accurate location of the vehicle. Many systems also combine a communications component such as cellular or satellite transmitters to communicate the vehicle’s location to a remote user. Vehicle information can be viewed on electronic maps via the Internet or specialized software.


The VaMP Driverless Car was one of the first truly autonomous cars along with its twin vehicle, the VITA-2. They were able to drive in heavy traffic for long distances without human intervention, using computer vision to recognize rapidly moving obstacles such as other cars, and automatically avoid and pass them. The VaMP was constructed by the team of Ernst Dickmanns at Universität der Bundeswehr München and Mercedes-Benz in the 1990s as part of the 800 million ECU EUREKA Prometheus Project on autonomous vehicles (1987-1995).

In 1995, Dickmanns´ re-engineered autonomous S-Class Mercedes-Benz took a 1600 km trip from Munich in Bavaria to Copenhagen in Denmark and back, using saccadic computer vision and transputers to react in real time. The robot achieved speeds exceeding 175 km/h on the German Autobahn, with a mean time between human interventions of 9km, or 95% autonomous driving. Again it drove in traffic, executing manoeuvres to pass other cars. Despite being a research system without emphasis on long distance reliability, it drove up to 158 km without human intervention. The 500 SEL Mercedes was re-engineered so that it was possible to control steering wheel, throttle, and brakes through computer commands based on real-time evaluation of image sequences. Software was written that translated sensory data into appropriate driving commands.

Video of Self-Driving Cars on HowStuffWorks. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is an agency of the U.S. Department of Defense that's responsible for the development of new technology for use by the military. Their latest project is to encourage the development of vehicles that will drive themselves, autonomously.

Control of Vehicle As automotive technology matures, more and more functions of the underlying engine, gearbox etc. are no longer directly controlled by the driver by mechanical means, but rather via a computer, which receives instructions from the driver as inputs and delivers the desired effect by means of
electronic throttle control, and other drive-by-wire elements. Therefore, the technology for a computer to control all aspects of a vehicle is well understood.

Navigation System The ability to plot a route from where the vehicle is to where the user wants to be has been available for several years. These systems, based on the US military's Global Positioning System are now available as standard car fittings, and use satellite transmissions to ascertain the current location, and an on-board street database to derive a route to the target. The more sophisticated systems also receive radio updates on road blockages, and adapt accordingly. Refer Automotive navigation system

The following products and projects do not aim to create a fully autonomous car. They are seen as incremental stepping-stones in that direction. Many of the technologies detailed below will probably serve as components of any future driverless car. Driver-assistance mechanisms are of several distinct types, sensorial-informative, actuation-corrective, and systemic.

These systems warn or inform the driver about events that may have passed unnoticed.
Lane Departure Warning System (LDWS), eg Iteris. Rear-view alarm, to detect obstacles behind. This system gets activated when the reverse gear is engaged. Visibility aids for the driver, to cover blind spots and enhanced vision systems such as radar, wireless vehicle safety communications and night vision.

These systems modify the driver's instructions so as to execute them in a more effective way, eg ABS, power steering is just a convenience. Anti-lock braking system (ABS) (also Emergency Braking Assistance (EBA), often coupled with Electronic brake force distribution (EBD), which prevents the brakes from locking and losing traction while braking. Traction control (TCS) actuates brakes or reduces throttle to restore traction if driven wheels begin to spin. Four wheel drive (AWD) distributes power to all four wheels and lessens the chances of wheel spin. It also suffers less from oversteer and understeer. Electronic Stability Control (ESC) (also known for Mercedes-Benz proprietary Electronic Stability Program (ESP), Acceleration Slip Regulation (ASR) and Electronic differential lock (EDL). Uses various sensors to intervene when the car senses a possible loss of control. The car's control unit can reduce power from the engine and even apply the brakes on individual wheels to prevent the car from understeering or oversteering. Dynamic steering response (DSR) corrects the rate of power steering system to adapt it to vehicle's speed and road conditions.

Automatic parking: e.g. technology from Toyota. The Lexus LS can park itself (parallel/reverse) via the 'Advanced Parking Guidance System' – though only controlling the steering. Death Brake; there is a move to introduce deadman's braking into automotive application, primarily heavy vehicles, and there may also be a need to add penalty switches to cruise controls.

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This post is dedicated to Princess Diana and also someone else I knew, who was killed in a road accident. In both cases there were Motives for removing these people.

D&D's inquest focused on excessive speed, alcohol, seat belts and flashing lights. The ignorant mass naturally bought into these reasons, simply because so many other car accidents have been attributed to these causes.

Given advanced communications technology and remote electronics systems available at the time, why didn't anyone challenge and expose what else could have interfered with the electronics in this vehicle and on their persons? Diana's Mobile Phone went conveniently missing.

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