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Phone relay capture may be latest in Russia's communications crisis in Ukraine

Phone relay capture may be latest in Russia's communications crisis in Ukraine

In the latest communications shock to the Russian military, the Security Service of Ukraine (abbreviated as SBU) has claimed to have caught a hacker who was helping to provide communications services for Russian troops inside Ukrainian territory. Vice report.

SBU shared the details in a tweet and Telegram message, posted at 10 a.m. (4AM ET) local time, which included photos purported to show the hacker and his communications system, though did not independently confirm the report. Could go Used to be.

According to the SBU's Telegram post, the hacker was helping to route calls from within Russia to the mobile phones of Russian soldiers in Ukraine, and sending text messages to Ukraine's security officials and civil servants offering them to surrender.

The images shared by SBU claim to show the hardware and software being used for these activities, and appear to be analogous to a relay system for voice and SMS communication.

Cathal McDade, CTO of Adaptive Mobile Security, explained the tools used and their importance in a tweet thread. McDaid said the system includes a SIM box server that can switch between 128 different SIM cards, combined with a GSM gateway for connecting voice calls and SMS messages to local mobile networks, and messaging and calls. Unknown software to handle the forwarding.

McDade also said that such systems are unreliable and should not be used for military communications.

The use of unsecured, civilian-class communication systems now appears to be the same for Russian troops operating in Ukraine. Since the invasion began, there have been several reports of Ukrainian security forces intercepting messages sent between Russian military units, a feat made possible by the lack of encryption on Russian communications.

Early in the invasion, Russian troops reportedly reduced their ability to use encrypted phone handsets by destroying local 3G and 4G masters, knocking out the mobile data networks on which the phones rely. With the Russian military relying on unencrypted comms, Ukrainian intelligence services were able to intercept sensitive communications and in some cases broadcast them to the world – as was the case with reports of the death of Russian General Vitaly Gerasimov.

Images of the conflict shared on social media also suggested that in some cases Russian soldiers were using unencrypted handheld radios for battlefield communications. The Russian Defense Ministry had previously implied that it had issued encrypted tactical radios to the majority of the Russian armed forces, but analysts at the Royal United Services Institute (a British defense and security think tank) observed that there were indications that the radio had been delivered. corrupt. interrupted by

The outdated and poorly maintained nature of Russian communications equipment is reflected in the state of heavy equipment being used by the Russian military, even as troops launch important military operations such as the attack on the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv. Reporting from the battlefield by the Washington Post indicates that some Russian tank units are operating Soviet-era T-72 vehicles, a model first built 50 years earlier.

However, despite several technical and logistical glitches, Russian forces outnumber Ukrainian forces, and show no signs of easing their attack as the war pushes into a dangerous new phase.

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