This is how Aftenposten revealed the secret surveillance in Oslo
Our reporters have revealed IMSI-catchers near the residence of the prime minister, the parliament and other state institutions. Here is how we did it.
- From October 10 until November 21 Aftenposten used one of the world’s most advanced encrypted mobile phones, the Cryptophone, in order to identify suspicious mobile activity in the Oslo area.
- This mobile was produced by the company GSMK and is distributed in Norway by Multisys. It can analyze communications in the baseband processor of your mobile phone, and it reacts when it discovers suspicious activity indicating the presence of fake base stations nearby.
- Aftenposten made 50 000 measurements during 57 different expeditions, covering 100 kilometers in the streets in and around Oslo. The route was logged with location data.
- Every indication was controlled for possible sources of error, for example signal strength, poor coverage, tunnels, bridges and imprecise GPS-positions. 122 incidents were, according to the CryptoPhone, «highly suspicious», indicating a fake base station nearby.
- This material was submitted to the mobile companies Telenor and Netcom, the Police Security Service and the Norwegian Post and Telecommunications Authority for comments. None of them could say whether they had information about fake base stations in Oslo. Telenor did not wish to meet with Aftenposten, they would only answer in an e-mail.
We cooperated with security firms
- As a next step, this newspaper went into a cooperation with the Norwegian security firm Aeger Group, and the British-Norwegian-Czech company CEPIA Technology.
- Both companies are being led by Norwegians with a long experience from military intelligence. They are hired by private institutions and state authorities to detect illegal surveillance.
- Based on Aftenposten’s informations, the security companies searched for signals at several locations in the Oslo-area in the weeks no. 49 and 50. They used highly sophisticated counterintelligence equipment.
- This monitoring makes it possible to to identify with very high probability the location of IMSI-catchers, down to a distance of 50 meters. In order to pinpoint the precise location, however, one would need police authority to access offices and premises.