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brentbart

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#33903 13-May-2009 20:13
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Allies of Vodafone have released papers to NBR that claim Telecom’s network builder, Alcatel-Lucent, delivered the telco a report in November 2008 “making it clear that ‘spurious’ emissions would extend beyond Telecom’s frequencies into neighbouring spectrum licensed to NZ Communications and beyond that into Vodafone’s frequencies”.





http://www.nbr.co.nz/article/telecom-knew-xt-interference-november-2008-102355

tut tut. Perhaps Dr Reynolds didn't read that report ... busy man that he is. Puh.


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Regs
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  #214705 13-May-2009 20:40
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well to me that says that vodafone is doing a crap job of maintaining and monitoring their network if it took them to long to notice the interference. 

Assuming that your network is safe is a dumb assumption.  We deploy firewalls, virus protection and network intrusion detection on LANs, WANs and Internet connections - why would a mobile network be any different




jpollock
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  #214743 13-May-2009 23:56
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I'm sorry, but emergency services should _NOT_ be using mobile phones for communication.

Phones (mobile or fixed) do not handle emergencies well.  The first thing that everyone does is pick up the phone and try to make a call.  The second thing is if there is a power problem, the basestation eventually runs out of juice.

There's a reason why Police/Fire/Ambulans spend considerable amounts of money on radios.  It's because it needs to work when the phones don't.

Give the guy a radio and take the phone off of him.  Unless he's using it for personal business, in which case it isn't important that he's a cop.




sbiddle
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  #214777 14-May-2009 09:30
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jpollock: I'm sorry, but emergency services should _NOT_ be using mobile phones for communication.

Phones (mobile or fixed) do not handle emergencies well.  The first thing that everyone does is pick up the phone and try to make a call.  The second thing is if there is a power problem, the basestation eventually runs out of juice.

There's a reason why Police/Fire/Ambulans spend considerable amounts of money on radios.  It's because it needs to work when the phones don't.

Give the guy a radio and take the phone off of him.  Unless he's using it for personal business, in which case it isn't important that he's a cop.


You totally forget the fact that as of right now all Police, Fire and Ambulance communications in NZ are using analogue radios still. This means that cellphones are an essential part of daily life for all 3 services for passing information that is deemed unsafe to pass over radios channels that lots of people are listening in on. Police usage of cellphones is extremely high because there is a lot of information that simply can't be passed over the air.

That's changing soon with the joint digital network that goes live in the Wellington region within the next couple of months but it is Police only at this stage.




jpollock
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  #214791 14-May-2009 10:17
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Wow, that's impressively bad.  Cell phones aren't really any more secure than an unencypted radio anyways.




mjb

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  #214802 14-May-2009 10:53
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jpollock: Wow, that's impressively bad.? Cell phones aren't really any more secure than an unencypted radio anyways.


Except that for Joe Public, it's a lot harder to listen in than just tuning in to ~480-490MHz FM.




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jpollock
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  #214807 14-May-2009 11:06
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mjb:
Except that for Joe Public, it's a lot harder to listen in than just tuning in to ~480-490MHz FM.


That is true, it takes more than a cheap radio.

Of course, it's just one chinese manufacturer away from being cheap.  It's currently a couple of thousand US for self-built, and 200k for a commercial product.

http://blog.makezine.com/archive/2007/10/decrypting_gsm.html
http://www.forbes.com/2008/02/21/cellular-spying-decryption-tech-security-cx_ag_0221cellular.html




exportgoldman
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  #214929 14-May-2009 23:03
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jpollock:
mjb:
Except that for Joe Public, it's a lot harder to listen in than just tuning in to ~480-490MHz FM.


That is true, it takes more than a cheap radio.

Of course, it's just one chinese manufacturer away from being cheap.  It's currently a couple of thousand US for self-built, and 200k for a commercial product.

http://blog.makezine.com/archive/2007/10/decrypting_gsm.html
http://www.forbes.com/2008/02/21/cellular-spying-decryption-tech-security-cx_ag_0221cellular.html


I think your mistaking the price of 'listening' and 'talking' on the police channels, listening can be done with any cheap Disk Smiths bearcat or like FM radio starting at around $200-$300, talking on the other hand needs gear like you mention above.





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jpollock
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  #215017 15-May-2009 12:28
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exportgoldman:

I think your mistaking the price of 'listening' and 'talking' on the police channels, listening can be done with any cheap Disk Smiths bearcat or like FM radio starting at around $200-$300, talking on the other hand needs gear like you mention above.



We're talking about the cost of decrypting GSM SMS/voice traffic between the handset and the base station, thus invalidating the premise that GSM cell phones are "secure", or even more secure than transmitting in the clear.

While $200(DSE radio) is within the range of just about everyone - this is what they are protected from.

$2000 (the homebuilt project) is in the range of serious hobbyists (ham operators) and anyone with a financial interest in the information (criminal gangs).

$200,000 (the commercial product), is in the range of anyone with a financial interest.

This is for an undetectable receiver that is decrypting GSM traffic with a 30s latency.  You can probably target the base stations with wiretaps for a lot less.  Or, as was found in Greece, target the lawful intercept equipment even more cheaply.

The police's level of security is not going to protect themselves from criminal gangs, it's not even enough to protect them from the ham operators.  It's only going to protect the conversation from people who are only casually interested.  It won't even protect them from TV/Radio/Newspapers!

At that point, there are only two conclusions that can be made.  Either NZ Police have got something to hide from the populace in general, or they don't understand the level of security they've got.  Personally, I'm more inclined to believe that they don't understand the level of security they've got.




scooby101
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  #215032 15-May-2009 13:19
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jpollock: I'm sorry, but emergency services should _NOT_ be using mobile phones for communication.

Phones (mobile or fixed) do not handle emergencies well.  The first thing that everyone does is pick up the phone and try to make a call.  The second thing is if there is a power problem, the basestation eventually runs out of juice.

There's a reason why Police/Fire/Ambulans spend considerable amounts of money on radios.  It's because it needs to work when the phones don't.

Give the guy a radio and take the phone off of him.  Unless he's using it for personal business, in which case it isn't important that he's a cop.



I think the point was more from a consumer end - that people relied on being able to dial 111 from their mobile handsets, and interference could cause problems for people trying to call emergency services.


Obviously there's a whole lot of places where you wouldn't be able to call emergency services off a mobile anyway due to lack of coverage, but obviously they want the existing coverage to be as reliable as possible.

jpollock
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  #215073 15-May-2009 15:26
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scooby101:

I think the point was more from a consumer end - that people relied on being able to dial 111 from their mobile handsets, and interference could cause problems for people trying to call emergency services.

Obviously there's a whole lot of places where you wouldn't be able to call emergency services off a mobile anyway due to lack of coverage, but obviously they want the existing coverage to be as reliable as possible.


That wasn't the point made in the article.  The point in the article is that the Officer couldn't make a call.  There has been no discussion on whether or not people were unable to call emergency services, merely that the Officer had difficulties which were resolved when the XT emitter was turned off.

I pointed out that the NZ Police using cell phones for communications will result in people dieing. 

Ambulance staff using multiple radios (and cell phones) has resulted in problems and NZ Corrections relying on cell phones resulted in a prisoner escaping.

It was then pointed out that the NZ Police are using GSM cell phones for communications because they are perceived to be more secure than regular radios.

It should be fairly well known by everyone in the industry that GSM communications are not secure, never have been secure, and were successfully attacked back in 1998 (by a guy I went to University with - Ian Goldberg).  It's now 11 years later, which means it is now cheap.

So, we're back to the original point.  Either the cop was operating in an unofficial capacity when they placed the call (in which case it doesn't _matter_ that they're a cop), or the cop shouldn't have been using a cell phone.

The same arguments apply to WCDMA phones.  The public cell phone network (or fixed line network for that matter) should _not_ be used for either secure communications or communications between emergency personel.    They just aren't engineered for it.

Of course, VF's attorney probably mentioned the officer because they are a professional witness, with a high level of trust (unimpeachable).  However, that still means it shouldn't have been in the news story - the fact that it was a cop had no effect on safety, merely on how trustworthy the witness was.




scooby101
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  #215118 15-May-2009 18:34
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jpollock:
scooby101:

I think the point was more from a consumer end - that people relied on being able to dial 111 from their mobile handsets, and interference could cause problems for people trying to call emergency services.

Obviously there's a whole lot of places where you wouldn't be able to call emergency services off a mobile anyway due to lack of coverage, but obviously they want the existing coverage to be as reliable as possible.


That wasn't the point made in the article.  The point in the article is that the Officer couldn't make a call.  There has been no discussion on whether or not people were unable to call emergency services, merely that the Officer had difficulties which were resolved when the XT emitter was turned off.

I pointed out that the NZ Police using cell phones for communications will result in people dieing. 

Ambulance staff using multiple radios (and cell phones) has resulted in problems and NZ Corrections relying on cell phones resulted in a prisoner escaping.

It was then pointed out that the NZ Police are using GSM cell phones for communications because they are perceived to be more secure than regular radios.

It should be fairly well known by everyone in the industry that GSM communications are not secure, never have been secure, and were successfully attacked back in 1998 (by a guy I went to University with - Ian Goldberg).  It's now 11 years later, which means it is now cheap.

So, we're back to the original point.  Either the cop was operating in an unofficial capacity when they placed the call (in which case it doesn't _matter_ that they're a cop), or the cop shouldn't have been using a cell phone.

The same arguments apply to WCDMA phones.  The public cell phone network (or fixed line network for that matter) should _not_ be used for either secure communications or communications between emergency personel.    They just aren't engineered for it.

Of course, VF's attorney probably mentioned the officer because they are a professional witness, with a high level of trust (unimpeachable).  However, that still means it shouldn't have been in the news story - the fact that it was a cop had no effect on safety, merely on how trustworthy the witness was.



Sorry - I'm not sure how I missed those entire two paragraphs! I did read the article but must have had the ol' brain switched off.


That said though, Vodafone did play the emergency services card right from the get go and they were referring to exactly what I said, so both are valid complaints.

jpollock
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  #215169 15-May-2009 23:45
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Yeah, not being able to get a call out from a cell phone in an emergency is a problem.  The confusion over 911 support on VoIP caused a lot of problems in the US.




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