Detecting Fake 4G LTE Base Stations in Real Time

Note: Presentation times are in Pacific Standard Time (PST).

Wednesday, February 03, 2021 - 7:05 am7:35 am

Cooper Quintin, Electronic Frontier Foundation


4G based IMSI catchers such as the Hailstorm are becoming more popular with governments and law enforcement around the world, as well as spies, and even criminals. Until now IMSI catcher detection has focused on 2G IMSI catchers such as the Stingray which are quickly falling out of favor. In this talk, we will demonstrate a brand new software project to detect fake 4G base stations, with open source software and relatively cheap hardware. We will reveal what we have found so far using our methods. And finally, we will present a plan to dramatically limit the capabilities of IMSI catchers (with the long term goal of making them useless once and for all).

Cooper Quintin, Electronic Frontier Foundation

Cooper is a Senior Security Researcher with the EFF Threat Lab. He has worked on projects such as Privacy Badger and Canary Watch. With his colleagues at threat lab, he has helped discover state-sponsored malware and nation-state actors such as Dark Caracal and Operation Manul. He has also performed security training for activists, non-profit workers, and ordinary folks around the world. He also was a co-founder of the Hackbloc hacktivist collective and published several issues of the DIY hacker zine "Hack This Zine." In his spare time, he enjoys playing music, playing with his kid, and imagining a better future.

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@conference {264136,
author = {Cooper Quintin},
title = {Detecting Fake 4G {LTE} Base Stations in Real Time},
year = {2021},
publisher = {USENIX Association},
month = feb

Presentation Video