Phone Tapping and IMSI-Catchers

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Following a Parliamentary Question [1] to the Prime Minister of Mauritius on Tuesday 19 April 2016 by an Opposition member, an widespread interest was created about telephone tapping in the country especially after what the Opposition member described as a van lurking around the house of opposition members in order to listen to conversations. Days later,  a weekly newspaper published a 3-page article [2] on the whole phone tapping in Mauritius and mentioned about an IMSI-Catcher which is basically a device that spoofs your mobile telephony provider’s Base Transceiver Station (In an nutshell, Base that connects your mobile phone to the telephony network) and acts as a middle-man between your device and the providers network thus capturing all of your communications. Out of my usual curiosity, I wanted to know more about it and clarify some doubts I had. I knew about the IMSI-Catcher technique and remembered an article by a hacker by the name of Simone Margaritelli who once assembled a relatively cheap bench rogue-BTS using a Raspberry Pi [3] that, if tweaked, could be used for that same purpose, intercept communications. I contacted him and he very kindly accepted to reply to my questions.

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Mauritian Codes around the World

Devices are everywhere; from around our wrists to inside our pockets to huge server farms. Those Engineering excellency are roughly metal structures with electronics components and one of the intangible marvel of the human mind inside them – The Software; those piece of code that make sense to everything. People either take writing those codes as their job or their hobby; but when the two are mixed, great stuffs happen!

Usually, important softwares and application are written by several programmers from one specific company or from developers around the globe contributing on the same project. One of the latter is Logananden Velvindron, a Mauritian coder. (about whom I wrote some time back). He helped to fix bugs on critical systems or wrote improvements to existing softwares. The great news is that, some times his improvements are deployed on production servers and systems from famous companies like Google! The latest in date is from CISCO which implemented an updated version of ntp which happens to contain Logan’s code. On that occasion, I paid Logan the usual virtual visit and got a little word from him. :)

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FreeBSD and Mauritius

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UntitledAfter talking about Linux and BSD, we will in this post focus on one of the flavours of BSD; FreeBSD, a major Operating System which is used heavily by big companies such as CISCO and Juniper in their networking products. It is powerful enough to push huge amount of internet traffic around the globe. A descendent of the original Berkeley UNIX, FreeBSD continues to evolve to this day, driven by a pool of passionate developers. We have the pleasure to chat with one of the developers of FreeBSD, Mr Loganaden Velvindron, Logan, previously interviewed on this same blog. (URL: https://www.freebsd.org/doc/en_US.ISO8859-1/articles/contributors/contrib-additional.html)

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A short word about BSD

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bsd-bigFollowing my past article entitled A short word about Linux, ideas were tossed on the Mauritius Internet Users mailing list about BSD having different approaches compared to Linux. The need for a BSD user group was voiced-out as well as raising the awareness on BSD and its advantages. Following that, a little chat with Logan again, who is also a BSD developer, brought out some fruitful information about BSD. Following is what I could extract from Logan 😛

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A short word about Linux

logolinuxLinux !! It’s on the mouth of most IT guys these days – or for long we can say. Some know about them and use them, some only know about them and some simply just ignore its existence. Linux Version 3.18 has been recently released and on the occasion, I decided to have a little chat with somebody close or deep into Linux; Logan – An Official Linux Kernel developer with whom I conducted an interview recently and also talked about some IPv6 issues for my home country, Mauritius. Following is a little of what we talked. Feel free to add your own views and thoughts (even beliefs 😛 ) in the comments.

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