Unknown Entity Is Spying On Cellphones Around The White House

Unknown Entity Is Spying On Cellphones Around The White House

A recent federal study found that surveillance devices used for intercepting phone calls and text messages were operating in Washington last year, including around the White House. The devices, called IMSI catchers, were discovered by the Department of Homeland Security according to a letter from the department to Senator Ron Wyden.

While the letter did not specify who was operating the devices, the discovery backs up research that foreign intelligence agencies could be using similar devices to spy on officials working in the capital of the United States. One of the most popular brands of IMSI catchers is StingRay, and are a common device given to many foreign intelligence services, such as Russia and China.

“This admission from DHS bolsters my concern about stingrays and other spying devices being used to spy on Americans’ phones,” Senator Wyden said in a statement on Thursday. “Given the reports of rogue spying devices being identified near the White House and other government facilities, I fear that foreign intelligence services could target the president and other senior officials.”

ISMI devices mimic cell towers, tricking phones into connecting to them and the ISMI collects calls, text messages and data streams. Luckily, unlike other forms of mobile phone interference, ISMI devices need to be nearby for devices to connect to it. ISMI devices can also be used to transmit data to a cell phone, and can install malicious software – such as viruses – to steal information contained on the phone, or to monitor communications.

The letter from the DHS also revealed that the DHS was aware of SS7 – a global cellular network messaging system that can intercept calls and texts, and can even locate phones anywhere in the world.