Feeds

DIY GSM network is go

A Blue Peter badge for Hackers At Random

Seven Steps to Software Security

Delegates attending the Hacking At Random conference managed to string together their own GSM network, demonstrating just how ubiquitous, and modular, mobile telephony has become.

The network runs from antennae slung from a tree and connected to a PC running OpenBSC, a GPL-licensed free network infrastructure stack incorporating an HLR as well as base station software. With such thrown-together hardware the hackers have, for the last few days, been running a 2G GSM network at 900MHz, under a test licence from the Dutch regulator.

Base stations in trees

An easier version of Spot the Base Station

Without interconnectivity to the rest of the world the network is obviously of limited value for placing calls, but provided a base for those interested in playing around with radio networks as well as demonstrating just how quickly and cheaply a GSM network can be built these days.

Last year's Burning Man festival also managed to host a GSM network - available to a limited selection of subscribers. That project estimated the cost of radio equipment, at around $4,500 including converting calls to VoIP for routing over Wi-Fi. The Hacking At Random crowd didn't convert to VoIP, but they spent a lot less money too.

Projects like this demonstrate just how rapidly GSM could be deployed into a disaster area to provide coverage, even if the network operators weren't around to help. Of course, deploying such a thing without a licence would be illegal, and hard to conceal, but it's equally obvious that such things will inevitably happen. ®

The smart choice: opportunity from uncertainty

More from The Register

next story
Auntie remains MYSTIFIED by that weekend BBC iPlayer and website outage
Still doing 'forensics' on the caching layer – Beeb digi wonk
Apple orders huge MOUNTAIN of 80 MILLION 'Air' iPhone 6s
Bigger, harder trouser bulges foretold for fanbois
GoTenna: How does this 'magic' work?
An ideal product if you believe the Earth is flat
Telstra to KILL 2G network by end of 2016
GSM now stands for Grave-Seeking-Mobile network
Seeking LTE expert to insert small cells into BT customers' places
Is this the first step to a FON-a-like 4G network?
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
BlackBerry: Toss the server, mate... BES is in the CLOUD now
BlackBerry Enterprise Services takes aim at SMEs - but there's a catch
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.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.