Well today wrapped up the end of DEFCON 18 in Las Vegas. I had the pleasure of attending this year and what a awesome time I had. Well if you follow the tech news you have heard and read tons on the one meeting that the FCC just had a fit about. The meeting was actually almost canceled after a phone call from the FCC to the speaker Chris Paget.
So what was the stink about? Well for basically he created a cell phone tower that basically intercepted all calls which filtered though his computer for his viewing. The best part about this is that he used parts that anyone can purchase. Now is it legal to this? Well nothing he did was illegal and that is the issue.
The U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) contacted Paget Friday morning after reports of his impending talk were published. The FCC didn't tell him his talk would be illegal, but informed him of some relevant federal regulations, he said. "They expressed a number of concerns about the talk," Paget said Friday in a meeting with press at Defcon.
The agency raised concerns that Paget's device might transmit over licensed frequencies and that he might unlawfully intercept mobile-phone calls -- something he says he will take steps to avoid on Saturday.
Well as you can tell he did go ahead with the talk but only after he spoke with the lawyers at EFF (Electronic Frontier Foundation). The meeting was held on Saturday and I had the pleasure of attending it. So lets get down to the nitty gritty...Did it really work? Oh yes it did and it worked really well. So how did he do it? Well here are the photos of the overhead he had up at the conference (and I believe we are the only site showing these). Each of these photos I personally took.
PLEASE NOTE ALL PHOTOS ARE RE-SIZED HERE BUT YOU CAN CLICK ON EACH PHOTO TO SEE IT IN ITS FULL SIZE.
First prior to coming to the meeting you were greeted everywhere by these signs
As Chris gave his speech on stage and did the demonstration there was Defcon security (aka "Goons") next to it.
Chris even at times turned his laptop around for the audience (of over 2 thousand) to see what he was doing. There were no tricks he was doing simple things that ANYONE can do.
Here are the the photos of the steps he used to create this. These were taken of the power point that he had up on the large overheads next to the stage. REMEMBER: for size purposes these are small but you can click on each one to see in full size.
He then showed what his computer was showing of the cells he had captured in the room of the conference:
He then pulled out a jammer that he did not demonstrate just simply showed us. What did that do well it put out a signal that would basically take down the cells in all of Las Vegas. After he displayed that he put up this slide
So you are wondering why did he do this? Well he said it was to try and force the cell phone industry to make phones more secure. Actually it wasn't that hard to do in making your cell secure you simply just have to not allow it to jump down to 2G. Now if you have Verizon then you hit the lotto because their phones and network was safe, lucky you. If you have a iPhone well sorry but you're screwed those were by far the easiest to get the info from. At Saturdays meeting he snagged 30 iphones out of the audience and was able in the flip of a switch get them to hook up to his towers. So how do you secure your phone? Well there was a slide for that too...
This was probably one of my favorite talks I went to durring the show. If you would like to read some of the takes that the news media had on the story you can read them here:
Oh just to let you know after the meeting all intercepted phone records were destroyed and he did that in front of the audience. Oh and all of those screen shots were taken with my android phone.