Late last week, researchers at the University of Minnesota revealed they had discovered another unique way to track cell phone location. Using techniques and equipment available to the general public for about $60, the approach leverages the following concept:
By simply calling the target's mobile number and monitoring the network's radio signals as it locates the phone, the attacker can quickly confirm if the person is located in what's known as the LAC, or Location Area Code. Attackers can use the same technique to determine if the target is within close proximity to a given base station within the LAC.For more on this development, the following recent articles may be of interest:
- Phone Network Vulnerability Reveals Location Information, Researchers Find - Minnesota Public Radio
- Your Mobile Phone Could Have a Leak - Minneapolis Star Tribune
- Location Tracking of GSM Cellphones: Now Easier (and Cheaper) Than Ever - ars technica (includes a link to the research paper on this subject)
Comment: Once again, here's proof that location driven technology has gotten ahead of policy. In the hands of law enforcement, this technique could be a tool for good. In the hands of criminals, this technique could be a tool for evil.