Archives for the category: Cell Phones used by Terrorists
May 16, 2013
Mobile phone providers in the Irish Republic could be asked to cut signals during the G8 summit being held in Northern Ireland amid fears terrorists may use them to detonate bombs.
Defence Minister Alan Shatter warned that there was a "real danger" lives could be lost in such an event.
November 23, 2012
Reuters reports that Pakistan is suspending phone coverage in many cities this weekend, an important one in the Shi'ite Muslim calendar, after a series of bomb attacks on Shi'ites triggered by mobile phones.
"All the blasts that occurred in the last 15 days were mobile phone-based," Interior Minister Rehman Malik told reporters on Friday.
Read full article.
April 22, 2011
Islamic militants have developed sophisticated ways of spreading propaganda via mobile, a study suggests. The BBC reports.
Researchers found jihadists were compiling packages of information designed to be received on smartphones.
Read full article.
Related links to articles on cell phones and terrorists.
November 4, 2010
Passengers could be prevented from using Wi-Fi devices on flights amid fears they could be used to detonate explosives
Mobile phones have long been used by terrorists to remotely detonate explosives, by calling or texting the handset, and there are concerns that allowing people to use mobile devices during flights could enable terrorists to easily activate a bomb.
Read full article.
October 31, 2010
... Investigators say the bombs were wired to cell phones, timers and power supplies. It's still unclear whether the explosives could have gone off while the planes were in the air or when the packages were in the U.S.
May 4, 2010
According to Politico, a senior official said that the number from a disposable cellphone led FBI agents to the suspect arrested Monday night for allegedly driving a car bomb into Times Square on Saturday evening.
They were able to basically get one phone number and by running it through a number of databases, figure out who they thought the guy was,” the official said.
[via The Huffington Post]
October 5, 2009
Last month an al-Qaeda militant passed through several airline security checks with a bomb hidden in his intestine. He later detonated the bomb with a cell phone signal, but failed in his attempt to assassinate a prominent Saudi prince. The Telegraph reports.
It was during the month of Ramadan, a time of repentance for Muslims and Aseiri was granted an audience with the prince at his private palace in Jeddah, by declaring that he would persuade other militants to surrender.
Read full article.
March 17, 2009
Somalia’s Islamist insurgent group al-Shabab is a fiercely secretive and ruthless organisation with alleged links to al-Qaeda. The Somalian Press reports.
The leaders of the group - which has taken over swathes of central and southern Somalia - are unknown to their subordinates.
October 7, 2008
Attacks on mobile phone towers in India's Bihar state has stepped up, with over half a dozen of them being blown up in the past one week, police said, reports Cellular News .
Towers have become a soft target for Maoists terrorists, who have increased their attacks after several terrorist leaders were tracked by their mobile phones and arrested.
March 26, 2008
Taliban attacks on telecom towers have prompted cell phone companies to shut down service across southern Afghanistan, angering a quarter million customers who have no other telephones, reports the Associated Press.
"Even some Taliban fighters now regret the disruptions and are demanding that service be restored by the companies.
The communication blackout follows a campaign by the Taliban, which said the U.S. and NATO were using the fighters' cell phone signals to track them at night and launch pinpoint attacks.
About 10 towers have been attacked since the warning late last month — seven of them seriously — causing almost $2 million in damage, the telecom ministry said. Afghanistan's four major mobile phone companies began cutting service across the south soon after.
The speed with which the companies acted shows how little influence the government has in remote areas and how just a few attacks can cripple a basic service and a booming, profitable industry. The shutdown could also stifle international investment in the country during a time of rising violence."
March 12, 2008
Mobile phone operators in Afghanistan have begun to switch off their networks during the night following threats from the Taliban, reports the BBC.
"Ten mobile phone masts were attacked in recent weeks, the latest on Tuesday night, the Afghan government says.
Last month the Taleban threatened the companies, alleging that the networks were being used by Afghan and Nato troops to target them.
... Since a threat by the Taleban last month to target the towers unless the phone companies switched off their signals at night, 10 such facilities have been attacked, six of them completely destroyed."
March 10, 2008
Saudi Arabia said yesterday nyone who received a voice recording from Al Qaeda’s deputy leader Ayman al-Zawahri on their mobile phone must inform the authorities within a week to avoid arrest.
The interior ministry said last week that 56 men held since December on suspicion of seeking to revive Al Qaeda cells in Saudi Arabia had planned to use a voice recording of Zawahri saved on a mobile phone to raise funds for the group.
[via The Gulf Times]
March 7, 2008
Taliban militants blew up another telecom tower in southern Afghanistan — the fourth such attack since the insurgents warned phone companies to shut down the towers at night. USA Today reports. No one was hurt in the incident.
"The militants believe U.S. and other foreign troops are using mobile phone signals to track insurgents and launch attacks against them.
But in targeting mobile networks, writes the IWPR, the Taleban may be losing one of their most precious assets – the tacit support of the local population.
While villagers in Helmand may turn a blind eye to public executions and grudgingly let their beards grow as the fundamentalists demand, they are extremely unhappy at the prospect of losing their phone service, for many their one link with the outside world."
March 1, 2008
"The militants fear U.S. and other foreign troops are using mobile phone signals to track insurgents and launch attacks against them. A Taliban spokesman on Monday said militants would blow up towers across Afghanistan if the companies did not switch off their signals overnight.
Insurgents made good on that threat Friday, destroying a tower along the main highway in the Zhari district.
Thousands of customers will be affected by the tower attack, Serhadi said. Police have increased security around other phone towers, he said.
Militants have threatened mobile phone companies in the past, accusing them of collusion with the U.S. and other foreign military forces.t of Kandahar province, said Niaz Mohammad Serhadi, the top district official.
Thousands of customers will be affected by the tower attack, Serhadi said. Police have increased security around other phone towers, he said.
Militants have threatened mobile phone companies in the past, accusing them of collusion with the U.S. and other foreign military forces.
Communications experts say the U.S. military has the ability, using satellites and other means, to pick up cell phone signals without the phone company's help. Cell phones periodically send signals to the network even when they are not making calls.
February 28, 2008
A Taliban threat to attack Afghan telecoms companies is the latest sign of paranoia from militants who fear their mobile phones will betray their hiding places. Reuters reports.
"The Islamist militia on Monday gave mobile operators a three-day ultimatum to shut down their networks at night or face attacks on their towers and offices.
It issued the demand because "the occupying forces stationed in Afghanistan usually at night use mobile phones for espionage to track down the mujahideen," a Taliban spokesman told Reuters.
The threat comes several months after publication on the Internet of a "security encyclopedia" for militant Islamists which urges strict precautions when using mobiles. It even recommends a particular handset model it says is hard for the enemy to open to implant a bugging device.
Howard Melamed, chief executive of U.S.-based cellular communications group CellAntenna, said the Taliban threat reflected a lack of understanding of the technology.
"Common sense would dictate: turn your phone off and it's OK," he told Reuters. "I have a feeling they're not really in tune too much with this kind of technology."
Analysts believe that senior leaders of al Qaeda do not use either mobile or satellite phones at all in order to avoid detection, instead relying on people to carry messages by word of mouth."
February 25, 2008
Taliban militants threatened Monday to blow up telecom towers across Afghanistan if mobile phone companies do not switch off their signals for 10 hours starting at dusk. [via the AP]
"Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujaheed said the U.S. and other foreign troops in the country are using mobile phone signals to track down the insurgents and launch attacks against them.
The Taliban have "decided to give a three-day deadline to all mobile phone companies to stop their signals from 5 p.m. to 3 a.m. in order to stop the enemies from getting intelligence through mobile phones and to stop Taliban and civilian casualties," Mujaheed told The Associated Press by telephone from an undisclosed location.
"If those companies do not stop their signal within three days, the Taliban will target their towers and their offices," he said.
There are four mobile phone operators in Afghanistan, but employees at the companies would not immediately comment."
August 23, 2007
According to UPI, British soldiers in Afghanistan have been barred from using cell phones because the Taliban have been tapping into them and making prank calls to their families.
This follows news last week that Denmark's military intelligence agency is investigating whether Iraqi insurgents have used mobile phone records to track down and threaten relatives of Danish soldiers deployed in Iraq.
"Intelligence officials fear that the Taliban may be picking up more than the information needed to frighten wives and parents, The Sun, a British newspaper, reported.
In one case, the wife of an air force officer got a middle-of-the-night call that said her husband had been killed, The Sun reported. When she called the Royal Air Force, she learned that was not true.
“You’ll never see your husband alive -- we have just killed him,” she had been told.
Soldiers must now call home only from secure military lines and are limited to 30 minutes on the phone each week.
Intelligence agents said that much of the tapping is being done in Pakistan and said that the Taliban may be getting."
August 16, 2007
Denmark's military intelligence agency is investigating whether Iraqi insurgents have used mobile phone records to track down and threaten relatives of Danish soldiers deployed in Iraq, officials said Thursday, reports the Contra Costa Times.
"Family members of several soldiers have told Danish media that they received threatening phone calls from unidentified callers in Iraq.
The Iraqi callers may have tracked down the numbers by monitoring private phone calls made by the soldiers to their relatives in Denmark, according to the Danish Defense Intelligence Service.
"Right now, we're mapping the extent (of the threats), after which we will consider whether our guidelines to our staff and their families regarding the use of cell phones and e-mails should be revised," agency spokeswoman Mette Noehr said. "To our knowledge, we're talking about a limited number of cases."
Noehr said the agency was not sure whether insurgents were behind the calls.
"It could also be hoodlums but one thing is sure, we're taking this very seriously," she said."
July 28, 2007
President Bush wants Congress to modernize a law that governs how intelligence agencies monitor the communications of suspected terrorists. The Associated Press reports.
"This law is badly out of date," Bush said Saturday in his weekly radio address.
Bush noted that terrorists now use disposable cell phones and the Internet to communicate, recruit operatives and plan attacks; such tools were not available when FISA passed nearly 30 years ago. He also cited a recently released intelligence estimate that concluded al-Qaida is using its growing strength in the Middle East to plot attacks on U.S. soil.
"Our intelligence community warns that under the current statute, we are missing a significant amount of foreign intelligence that we should be collecting to protect our country," Bush said. "Congress needs to act immediately to pass this bill, so that our national security professionals can close intelligence gaps and provide critical warning time for our country."
... Caroline Fredrickson, director of the Washington legislative office of the American Civil Liberties Union, contends the White House is asking for more power to conduct warrantless domestic and international surveillance.
The ACLU said the legislation backed by the administration would give immunity from criminal prosecution and civil liability for the telecommunication companies that participate in the NSA program. The ACLU urged lawmakers to find out the full extent of current intelligence gathering under FISA before making changes.
"The only thing more outrageous than the administration's call for even more unfettered power is a Congress that would consider giving it to them," Frederickson said.
July 9, 2007
Terrorist suspects should be banned from using cell phones - A quote by Wolfgang Schauble, Germany's interior minister in UPI.
"Schauble renewed his calls for preemptive laws after the recent attempted terrorist attacks in Britain. He is promoting legislation to allow suspects' computers to be monitored without their knowledge and for increased video surveillance in public places. Terrorist suspects also should be banned from using cell phones, he said."
July 4, 2007
The Telegraph details how cell phones were instrumental in tracking down the terrorists in the London and Glasgow attacks.
"Police recovered phones from the two Mercedes cars which had been left in the centre of London. They are thought to have been left in the vehicles as detonators for the bombs.
This could have been done by setting the phone’s alarm or by ringing the handset from some distance away.
But for the phone to work it had to have a Sim card – the small chip provided by the phone company to the subscriber. It carries a wealth of information, such as whether it is on a pay-as-you-go contract or monthly subscription.
It also carries the phone number, enabling police to get details of calls made from the carrier.
It is believed that this could have helped police identify the address in Glasgow, which was raided just ahead of the attack on the city’s airport.
But the role of the mobile phone does not stop at identifying suspects, the signals they send also enabled police to track their movements as they passed the nationwide network of masts.
This network is so extensive that it is being considered as a potential option for a national road pricing scheme, because it makes it possible to track the movements of a car remarkably precisely."
July 2, 2007
The attempted London car bombings were meant to be detonated by calls to mobile phones in the two vehicles, but failed for technical reasons. AFXNews / Forbes reports.
"The calls made on the phones allowed police to trace those behind last Friday's failed attacks, the Evening Standard said, without giving sources.
The phones were meant to set off blasts when they were called, but the devices failed to detonate the mixture of gas canisters and nails in the two Mercedes cars parked in London's entertainment district.
... Calls logged on the phones led detectives to addresses in Liverpool, Glasgow and Staffordshire, the Evening Standard said."
February 18, 2007
"... The modus operandi of the rebels is to plant explosive-laden mobile phones at strategic places and call on the number from a remote phone to trigger it.
"On 27th December a explosion was done using a mobile phone. It was a mobile phone blast. When further investigation was done, it came to light that the SIM used in the mobile phone was issued on a fraud name of an army man," said, Lieutenant Colonel A. K. Mathur, spokesperson of the Indian army.
... Mobile telephony was not permitted in Kashmir valley, until 2003, as security agencies feared that militants would misuse it. " [via Zee News]
Related: -Cell phones used by terrorists
January 5, 2007
Wired recalls the first mention of a mobile phone used as a bomb.
1996: The Israeli secret service found that a mobile phone makes a nifty little bomb for disposing of an enemy, which is what happened to Yahya Ayyash on Jan. 5, 1996 when he tried talking on a booby-trapped phone apparently provided by Israel's Shabak.
Ayyash was the chief bomb-maker for Hamas, and was linked to the killings of more than 70 Israelis, many of them civilians.
Israel has never confirmed or denied involvement in Ayyash's killing, but even the cheapest cell phone won't usually explode without a little help.
September 28, 2006
Al Qaeda’s novel death technique: Detonating hundreds of simultaneous explosions through cell phone and Internet
According to Debkafile, counter-terror sources report extreme concern among security services in the United States, Europe, the Far East and Israel, after the source of 350 multiple attacks in Bangladesh on Aug. 17, 2005, was traced to Tripoli, Lebanon.
"French counter-terror experts leading an international inquiry into the attacks discovered that a facility, set up there by Abu Musab al Zarqawi, al Qaeda’s late Iraq commander, had developed the new design which works through Internet messengers like Skype or MSN.
Network-connected mobile phones can remotely detonate over the Internet simultaneous explosions hundreds of miles apart, anywhere on the world. US forces located and killed Zarqawi on June 7, 2006.
This system, seen only in Bangladesh so far, is more complex than any used by al Qaeda before.
.. The materials found at the al Qaeda lab there were removed to forensic facilities in Paris and produced the following picture:
For its Bangladesh operation, al Qaeda had prepared 350 cell phones. Communications software was installed in each, together with a simple interface program designed in the Tripoli lab. Loaded onto the master computer in Tripoli linked to global Internet was the readily available Skype or MSN software. The cell phones were given 350 different usernames – or rather the same one with a different numeral, e.g. Tom1, Tom2, and so forth up to Tom350. The program was relayed to the mobile phones which then transmitted the operational signal to detonate the explosives.
The Bangladesh method would be hard to apply in the United States, Europe or Israel. Anti-terror security measures are more stringent there and would make it difficult to plant 350 hidden bombs without some being detected."
August 25, 2006
"Soldiers from the 39th Brigade Combat Team recently hit the jackpot in Taji, Iraq. After some intense fighting, they nabbed a terrorist leader and cache of weapons and items used for IEDs (Improvised Explosive Device). One type of trigger device found was a cell phone rigged up to a motorcycle battery which allows the trigger to remain operational for an extended period."
Previously: - Improvised Cell Phone Explosive Device
August 19, 2006
The above picture has shown up on blogs before, often illustrating stories related to cell phones used by terrorists to blow up things, but I always doubted their authenticity - as it was my understanding that cell phones were used to trigger bombs remotely, but Street Use gets down to the real story.
"This photo of one IED (Improvised Explosive Device) found in Iraq was submitted to Shock and Awe section of the US soldier bulletin board Military.com by Shain Chmura. He adds: Make special note of the "01 Call Missed" displayed on the phone.
The image is courtesy of the US Department of Defense."
August 17, 2006
"Cellphones have become a tool of choice for those wanting to stay a step ahead of government wiretappers as well as for insurgents triggering bombs. Reselling them on the black market also has become a way of funding illicit activities."
And Textually's chapter devoted to cell phones used by terrorists
August 14, 2006
In an update on Sunday's post, the FBI said Monday it had no information to indicate that the three Texas men arrested with about 1,000 cell phones in their van had any direct connection to known terrorist groups. AP reports.
"Local authorities didn't say what they believed the men intended to do with the phones, most of which were prepaid TracFones, but Caro's police chief noted that cell phones can be untraceable and used as detonators."
August 13, 2006
Three Texas men were arraigned Saturday on terrorism-related charges after police found about 1,000 cell phones in their minivan, reports the AP.
"The men were stopped before dawn Friday after they purchased 80 cell phones from a Wal-Mart store in Caro. Police said they found about 1,000 cell phones in their minivan.
The Dearborn men, Ali Houssaiky and Osama Abulhassan, both 20, have been charged with two felonies -- money laundering in support of terrorism and soliciting or providing support for acts of terrorism -- and misdemeanor falsification. A preliminary hearing on the felony counts was set for Tuesday.
Defense lawyers said Houssaiky and Abulhassan planned to resell the phones simply to make money. They say the men were targeted only because they are of Arab descent."
-- USA: Phone Sales Tip Feds to Terror 'Cells' - In January 2006, ABC News reported that law enforcement officials were investigating at least two mass purchases of disposable cell phones, devices often used by terrorists, by individuals from the Middle East and Pakistan.