IMSI-Catcher Disguised as HP Printer

Artist and engineer Julian Oliver has long held an obsession with badly-disguised radio masts, whether they are the kind that pretends to be a palm tree or the kind that pretends to be a lamp post. Now he has progressed from documenting the fakery of mobile network antennae to constructing his own elaborate GSM-based deception. Oliver took the dull beige and grey casing of a Hewlett Packard printer, and put an IMSI-catcher inside; see here. And to convince the world it really works, he shared the software for the IMSI-catcher too!

Oliver treats the piece as a work of art, calling it Stealth Cell Tower. As he recognizes, the device could not be used without breaking various laws. But he obviously has a serious point. If an artist can successfully make a fake GSM network node, which appears just like an innocuous piece of office equipment from the outside, then crooks and spies could do the same. So ask yourself a question: when a new office printer is installed, would you think to check who ordered it?

Eric Priezkalns
Eric Priezkalns
Eric is the Editor of Commsrisk. Look here for more about the history of Commsrisk and the role played by Eric.

Eric is also the Chief Executive of the Risk & Assurance Group (RAG), a global association of professionals working in risk management and business assurance for communications providers.

Previously Eric was Director of Risk Management for Qatar Telecom and he has worked with Cable & Wireless, T‑Mobile, Sky, Worldcom and other telcos. He was lead author of Revenue Assurance: Expert Opinions for Communications Providers, published by CRC Press. He is a qualified chartered accountant, with degrees in information systems, and in mathematics and philosophy.