Malware in Cell Phone Batteries (and quantum entanglement, Ukraine, Surveillance, Assange, NSA demoralization, Greenwald on surveillance consciousness)

JMA did an in-depth analysis on some phones of presumably varying cognitive capacity. He found the firmware could be updated over the air even when the phone was turned off, provided the battery was in place or a charger connected.

Additionally, he found there was a hidden memory bank in most phones’ battery large enough to stash eavesdropping software… in other words, creating a cell phone #badbios. (did Dragos check his laptop batteries?)

Though JMA doesn’t take it this far, I wonder if it would be possible to create a malicious battery-resident virus that infected a phone whenever you inserted an infected battery. Such a beast would make tampering with phones left unattended very convenient.

Delivered “over the air,” it would also be useful for infecting a person’s whole stash of burners, if they swap batteries but are otherwise careful to keep phones off most of the time.

Entanglement implies a wormhole between the two entangled particles. GRAVITY IS CLOSELY LINKED TO ENTANGLEMENT. Whoa.

Ukraine: Chanting “We don’t want to live in a police state,” protesters have toppled the statue of Lenin in Kiev. This seems significant.

A most excellent observation on surveillance.

Assange hits the nail on the head. “If a small publisher can beat the Pentagon, then some committed and strong political groups in various countries don’t have to be quite as scared of US as they have been before.”

One of the reasons I suspect Snowden was pushed towards his current Moscow situation is the narrative — leaking is bad enough, but leaking and then running off to take care of himself instead of relying-by-proxy on another state’s security? Utterly unacceptable, a surefire route to anarchy.

Nevertheless if Assange actually believes the US intelligence agencies are as incompetent as he makes them out to be… he has a serious problem and any would-be US whistleblowers would be well advised to steer clear of him until he clears it up. Perhaps Snowden is indeed best off in Moscow, at least the Russians more or less understand what’s possible.

One way to stop the spying. Historical note: when people stopped being so willing to work for the Eastern Bloc internal organs of repression, that was the beginning of the end.

“A second former official said NSA workers are polishing up their résumés and asking that they be cleared — removing any material linked to classified programs — so they can be sent out to potential employers. He noted that one employee who processes the résumés said, “I’ve never seen so many résumés that people want to have cleared in my life.””

Another way. Looks like Greenwald has indeed given the question of “how do you avoid wet-noodle legislative “reforms” followed by business as usual?” some thought.

“So if you just have reform legislatively, without massive fundamental changes of public opinion, then Spencer and Ewen are right: Nothing significant and meaningful will happen. But I don’t think that’s the case here. The extent to which people think differently about a whole variety of topics, as a result of this NSA reporting — not just surveillance, but journalism, their relationship to the state, the role of secrecy, the role that the United States plays in the world —
there’s been radically different opinions around the world about all these topics. I really do think the last six months have been consciousness-shifting.”

Date: Tue, 12 Nov 2013 16:14:27 -0500
From: James M. Atkinson
Subject: Re: [TSCM-L] {6526} tracking powered down cell phones

The article in question, and the inquires it quotes are misleading.

For example Samsung is reported to have said “…without the power source…” but most Samsung cell phones do not have the ability to actually disconnect the power when you turn them off, to the statement my President Kim is misleading.

Apple, (for example) does not actually disconnect the battery on a power down, neither does RIM/Blackberry, or a half dozen other companies phones that I personally have examined in a lab. The methodilogy that I used as to open the phone to access the battery on a copper to copper and to place a current shunt (low value resistor) between the battery and the phone and then to use a high speed multi-channel analog to digital recorder across this shunt to very carefully measure the current flow over a period of many weeks. The use of a multi-channel A/D convertor was important as I needed to also carefully document RF activity out of the phone and to isolate the RF activity into multiple bands specific to that model/version of phone (separating uplink and don link channels as well as a few phones are capable to transmitting over the receiving channel). Some phones also have internal FM band modulators, Blutooth, WiFi, and other circuits, so the circuit and the chips on the phone have to be explored with test equipment to find the cute circuits and filters that were in place on many phones and PDA’s. I also attached a DSSO (high speed digital oscilloscope) across the shunt to watch current draw to and from the battery, and to capture RF that might be below thresholds that might otherwise not be noticed, when the phone shoudl not be operational (like when “turned off”).

I also figured out a way to covertly provoke the cell phone carriers to access the phone when it was turned off, and in some cases to provoke the cell phone carrier into causing the phone to give up a GPS position when the main battery was actually removed from the phone. I also figured out a way to provoke the carrier into updating software over the air when the phone as actually “turned off” but the battery was still connected or the battery charger as in use.

Bottom line: No modern cell phone is actually “turned off” and inside the batteries in most phones is a section of memory, and most phones can access this battery hidden memory, and in most cases it is large enough in storage capacity to hold eavesdropping software. Also, do not trust a cell phone until you bake it by placing it into a microwave oven and “baked out the evil” for a good half hour of so with the oven on high (or until the fire trucks shows up) and then to dump the charred remains into the ocean, and maybe not even then.”

%d bloggers like this: