Cell-site simulators, called IMSI catchers because they capture devices' International Mobile Equipment Identity codes, masquerade as legitimate mobile network cell towers to trick nearby cell phones into connecting. Once linked, they can track a cell phone's location, or even surveil its messages and phone calls.
Department of Homeland Security (DHS) confirmed for the first time that it is aware of unauthorized cell-site simulators, the surveillance tools often called stingrays or IMSI Catchers, in various parts of Washington DC. Though some can scan up to a mile radius, most are fairly localized. But even this isn't much consolation in Washington, where embassies and government buildings are everywhere. Find out the latest here.
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