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Undergound. Go to Table of Contents.

   ******** LAC 4868

  

   ******** CI 3200

  

   The beauty of a digital mobile phone, as opposed to the analogue

   mobile phones still used by some people in Australia, is that a

   conversation is reasonably secure from eavesdroppers. If I call you on

   my digital mobile, our conversation will be encrypted with the A5

   encryption algorithm between the mobile phone and the exchange. The

   carrier has copies of the Kis and, in some countries, the government

   can access these copies. They are, however, closely guarded secrets.

  

   SKiMo had access to the database of the encrypted Kis and access to

   some of the unencrypted Kis themselves. At the time, he never went to

   the trouble of gathering enough information about the A3 and A8

   algorithms to decrypt the full database, though it would have been

   easy to do so. However, he has now obtained that information.

  

   To SKiMo, access to the keys generated for each of thousands of German

   mobile phone conversations was simply a curiosity--and a trophy. He

   didn't have the expensive equipment required to eavesdrop. To an

   intelligence agency, however, access could be very valuable,

   particularly if some of those phones belonged to people such as

   politicians. Even more valuable would be ongoing access to the OMC, or

   better still, the MSC. SkiMo said he would not provide this to any

   intelligence agency.

  

   While inside DeTeMobil, SKiMo also learned how to interpret some of

   the mapping and signal-strength data. The result? If one of the

   company's customers has his mobile turned on, SKiMo says he can

   pinpoint the customer's geographic location to within one kilometre.

   The customer doesn't even have to be talking on the mobile. All he has

   to do is have the phone turned on, waiting to receive calls.

  

   SKiMo tracked one customer for an afternoon, as the man travelled

   across Germany, then called the customer up. It turned out they spoke

   the same European language.

  

   `Why are you driving from Hamburg to Bremen with your phone on

   stand-by mode?' SKiMo asked.

  

   The customer freaked out. How did this stranger at the end of the

   phone know where he had been travelling?

  

   SKiMo said he was from Greenpeace. `Don't drive around so much. It

   creates pollution,' he told the bewildered mobile customer. Then he

   told the customer about the importance of conserving energy and how

   prolonged used of mobile phones affected certain parts of one's brain.

  

   Originally, SKiMo broke into the mobile phone carriers' network

   because he wanted `to go completely cellular'--a transition which he

   hoped would make him both mobile and much harder to trace. Being able

   to eavesdrop on other people's calls-- including those of the

   police--was going to be a bonus.

  

   However, as he pursued this project, he discovered that the code from

   a mobile phone manufacturer which he needed to study was `a

   multi-lingual project'. `I don't know whether you have ever seen a

   multi-lingual project,' SKiMo says, `where nobody defines a common