Feeds

Thai insurgents move to keyless-entry bombs

Cellphone devices blocked by security forces

The Power of One eBook: Top reasons to choose HP BladeSystem

Insurgents in southern Thailand have begun using keyless-entry systems from cars to trigger bomb explosions after authorities took to blocking mobile-phone signals.

The Bangkok Post reports that Thai police found a Daihatsu RF key near a blast site in Yala on April 13. It is thought the bomber dropped it while fleeing the scene. The key had apparently been modified so its signal covered a longer distance.

Police believe that insurgents may have obtained up to 40 of the devices, and have distributed photographs to southern stations.

According to the Post, "militants who have in the past used mobile phones to set off bombs are being forced to change their detonation methods as security forces continue to block mobile phone signals while carrying out security missions," suggesting that Thai security forces routinely jam or otherwise block mobile-phone frequencies as they go about their business.

The Thai government seems to be claiming this shift in insurgent tactics as a success for the authorities, though it might well be seen the other way round.

Similar electronic-warfare battles are now being fought between Coalition forces and their enemies in Iraq, and in former times by Northern-Irish republicans and British forces.

Heavy-handed active jamming, apparently favoured by the Thais, has seldom been used on the UK mainland. It causes massive disruption to civilian communications, and in any case the emergency services frequently need to make use of mobile comms themselves. There is also some risk of triggering a device by one's own jamming signal, though this mainly affects older and more basic devices.

And the Thai forces are finding out the same thing that the British army did long ago: that as soon as you block one signal the enemy will think of something else. The Provisional IRA in their day would often wire up a bomb to a speed-trap detector, for instance, and then trigger it from a distance using a radar gun. Other ploys used by various organisations have included hospital beeper systems, remote controls from toys, light sensors set off using camera flashes etc. As consumer wireless technology continues to proliferate, the options for the bomber will widen. WIMAX, anyone?

This is a struggle which won't end any time soon. ®

Lewis Page is a former bomb-disposal officer.

The Power of One eBook: Top reasons to choose HP BladeSystem

More from The Register

next story
HIDDEN packet sniffer spy tech in MILLIONS of iPhones, iPads – expert
Don't panic though – Apple's backdoor is not wide open to all, guru tells us
Mozilla fixes CRITICAL security holes in Firefox, urges v31 upgrade
Misc memory hazards 'could be exploited' - and guess what, one's a Javascript vuln
BMW's ConnectedDrive falls over, bosses blame upgrade snafu
Traffic flows up 20% as motorway middle lanes miraculously unclog
LibreSSL RNG bug fix: What's all the forking fuss about, ask devs
Blow to bit-spitter 'tis but a flesh wound, claim team
Manic malware Mayhem spreads through Linux, FreeBSD web servers
And how Google could cripple infection rate in a second
Yorkshire cops fail to grasp principle behind BT Fon Wi-Fi network
'Prevent people that are passing by to hook up to your network', pleads plod
Don't look, Snowden: Security biz chases Tails with zero-day flaws alert
Exodus vows not to sell secrets of whistleblower's favorite OS
Researcher sat on critical IE bugs for THREE YEARS
VUPEN waited for Pwn2Own cash while IE's sandbox leaked
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.