One of our favorite autocracies (Russia) brings us a new tech product that bypasses pesky FISA courts and warrants: AIBIS, a device that mimics a GSM cell tower and can intercept up to eight simultaneous connections within a 500m range. It can soak up voice, SMS, mobile internet and call-setup data without being detected.
The company’s product page boasts, “AIBIS is so versatile, it can work with moving and driving targets, providing fast, reliable interception, interrogation, data analysis, IMSI/IMEI catching and selective jamming of GSM traffic in the area” – perfect if you’re monitoring a protest march being organized using social media (not that anyone would ever want to do that).
The best part: the entire system weighs 10kg (~22 pounds) and can fit in a car or small station wagon. This allows you to avoid the anonymous-utility-van cliché while you eavesdrop on your neighbors.
Since this product catches connections before they enter the network provider’s system, there’s no need to contact the provider or pay its fees in order to intercept the call traffic. The way things have gone in the U.S. following 9/11, AIBIS use may not even require a warrant in cases supposedly linked to terrorism.
Discovery Telecom Technologies, the creator of AIBIS, is headquartered in Moscow, with branch offices in Salt Lake City and Zurich. In addition to spy gear, it markets video security systems, satellite phones, GPS monitoring, polygraphs, and various jammers. Its Russian website highlights its clients:
At various times, either directly or through a dealer network, our customers were: Railways, Transtelekom, Domodedovo airport, Sberbank, Alfa-Bank, IKEA, 36.6, Peak region, AutoWorld, prefecture of Moscow, Kazan Kremlin, the Russian Federal Security Service, Ministry of Internal Affairs of Kyrgyzstan and a couple of hundred other companies and organizations in Russia and the CIS…
The Russian Federal Security Service, or FSB, is today’s version of the KGB. But what did IKEA get from these guys?
Thanks to Wired’s Danger Room for providing the heads-up.