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posted by cmn32480 on Tuesday October 27 2015, @07:06AM   Printer-friendly
from the is-any-tla-not-listening-in dept.

The Guardian reports about the US Internal Revenue Service (IRS) buying and upgrading Harris Corporation Stingray IMSI-catchers in 2009 (PDF (21 MB) and text (10.2 KB) versions of 2009 invoice) and 2012 (upgrading Stingray II to a HailStorm, see quote below) and that they're now the 13th US federal agency confirmed to use the technology which pretends to be legitimate cell towers in order to eavesdrop on mobile communication. IMSI-catchers are not restricted to "only" catching metadata; they can catch all communications and also perform any kind of addition MITM attack like malware insertion. No warrants are said to be required, only PEN register orders. The invoices was obtained through Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests.

Quote from the Guardian article:

The 2009 IRS/Harris Corp invoice is mostly redacted under section B(4) of the Freedom of Information Act, which is intended to protect trade secrets and privileged information. However, an invoice from 2012, which is also partially redacted, reports that the agency spent $65,652 on upgrading a Stingray II to a HailStorm, a more powerful version of the same device, as well as $6,000 on training from Harris Corporation.

The CEO of Harris Corporation is William M. Brown (PDF 54.8 KB) who according to Forbes was number 279 in CEO compensation in 2012. Here's the rest of the Harris Corporation management.


Original Submission

Related Stories

DHS Finds Unauthorized Use of "Stingrays" (IMSI Catchers) in Washington, D.C. 44 comments

In a letter to Senator Ron Wyden, the Department of Homeland Security has acknowledged that unknown users are operating IMSI catchers in Washington, D.C.:

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is acknowledging for the first time that foreign actors or criminals are using eavesdropping devices to track cellphone activity in Washington, D.C., according to a letter obtained by The Hill.

DHS in a letter to Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) last Monday said they came across unauthorized cell-site simulators in the Washington, D.C., area last year. Such devices, also known as "stingrays," can track a user's location data through their mobile phones and can intercept cellphone calls and messages.

[...] DHS official Christopher Krebs, the top official leading the NPPD, added in a separate letter accompanying his response that such use "of IMSI catchers by malicious actors to track and monitor cellular users is unlawful and threatens the security of communications, resulting in safety, economic and privacy risks."

DHS said they have not determined the users behind such eavesdropping devices, nor the type of devices being used. The agency also did not elaborate on how many devices it unearthed, nor where authorities located them.

Also at Ars Technica and CNN.

Related: Police: Stingray Device Intercepts Mobile Phones
ACLU Reveals Greater Extent of FBI and Law Enforcement "Stingray" Use
US IRS Bought Stingray, Stingray II, and Hailstorm IMSI-Catchers
EFF Launches the Cell-Site Simulator Section of Street Level Surveillance
NYPD Making Heavy Use of Stingrays
New York Lawmakers Want Local Cops to Get Warrant Before Using Stingray
New Jersey State Police Spent $850,000 on Harris Corp. Stingray Devices


Original Submission

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  • (Score: 3, Touché) by RamiK on Tuesday October 27 2015, @11:02AM

    by RamiK (1813) on Tuesday October 27 2015, @11:02AM (#255045)

    All the better to catch the tax-evading terrorists my dear.

    --
    compiling...
  • (Score: 4, Insightful) by Phoenix666 on Tuesday October 27 2015, @12:06PM

    by Phoenix666 (552) on Tuesday October 27 2015, @12:06PM (#255062) Journal

    What does the IRS need Stingrays for?

    --
    Washington DC delenda est.
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 27 2015, @12:39PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 27 2015, @12:39PM (#255069)

      I came here to ask the same!

    • (Score: 2) by tibman on Tuesday October 27 2015, @01:36PM

      by tibman (134) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday October 27 2015, @01:36PM (#255079)

      Makes me wonder if they are using them internally? So many companies already do MitM SSL attacks on any computer accessing the internet from inside the company. This way they can see everything that employees access and do. Doing the same to phones is a logical progression of that idea.

      --
      SN won't survive on lurkers alone. Write comments.
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 27 2015, @02:29PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 27 2015, @02:29PM (#255101)

      Easy, they have no reason at to have these things. They are not law enforcement.

      • (Score: 1) by Francis on Tuesday October 27 2015, @03:21PM

        by Francis (5544) on Tuesday October 27 2015, @03:21PM (#255127)

        Wait what? You mean all those audits they do to determine if people have been illegally evading taxes isn't law enforcement?

        The IRS exists mainly to ensure that people have paid the taxes that they owe and to investigate returns that might be fraudulent. That sounds an awful lot like law enforcement to me. Especially given that some of the things they investigate are felonies rather than just misdemeanors or civil.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 28 2015, @12:06AM

          by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 28 2015, @12:06AM (#255348)

          IRS != FBI

          It is pretty simple really. I fart like a trumpet often, doesn't make my ass a musical instrument nor me a musician.

          • (Score: 1) by Francis on Wednesday October 28 2015, @04:35AM

            by Francis (5544) on Wednesday October 28 2015, @04:35AM (#255436)

            In other words, you're an idiot and proud to be an idiot.

            How about the Secret Service, they're not the FBI either, I suppose they aren't law enforcement either.

  • (Score: 4, Funny) by DECbot on Tuesday October 27 2015, @02:50PM

    by DECbot (832) on Tuesday October 27 2015, @02:50PM (#255111) Journal

    Seriously, signal down my street is abysmal. I, for one, would love to have a stingray or equivalent installed on my block so I can actually place and receive calls.

    --
    cats~$ sudo chown -R us /home/base
  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 27 2015, @07:08PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 27 2015, @07:08PM (#255238)

    Why are we being provided the link to the management team? Is this some kind of backdoor solicitation for investors?

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 27 2015, @08:07PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 27 2015, @08:07PM (#255261)

      In this mission you will face 13 enemies. They are specialists in surveillance. Here are dossiers with their photos and biographies. Study them well. On completion of this mission you will receive 1250 XP and 60,000 credits.

  • (Score: 1) by linkdude64 on Wednesday October 28 2015, @03:09AM

    by linkdude64 (5482) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday October 28 2015, @03:09AM (#255413)

    I guess this is a way to use it very accurately.