• The DigitalBank Vault

How Can We Hack your Smartphone easily with IMSI Catchers by Adam Adler

Updated: Oct 21


IMSI Catchers act like false cell towers that trick the victim’s device to connect to them. The communications (calls, text messages, Internet traffic, and more) are intercepted, then relayed to the target cell tower of the network carrier. To make matters worse, the victim is mostly unaware of what is happening. This type of hack is also known as a man-in-the-middle (MitM) attack. How does this contraption work? This cybercriminal activity is made possible due to a loophole in the GSM protocol. Mobile phones are constantly looking for the tower with the strongest signal to provide the best reception, which is usually the nearest one. It might, however, not be a genuine mobile provider tower.


When a device connects to a cell tower, it authenticates to it via its International Mobile Subscriber Identity (IMSI). IMSI is a unique identifier linked to your SIM card and is one of the pieces of data used to authenticate your device to the mobile network. The issue, however, is that the tower doesn’t have to authenticate back. This is why the IMSI Catcher is so effective. It simply pretends to be a cell tower near your phone, then seamlessly connects to it, and starts to harvest information. IMSI Catchers: Blazing Comets in the Cybercrime Space The simplistic nature of this mechanism is helping cybercriminals carry out their malicious acts with alarming ease. All they need is a laptop, some cheap hardware that is available on the net, and a few commands to initiate the hacking process in just a few minutes. It’s that simple. 3 Types of Cyber-Attacks by IMSI Catchers

Communication Interception – This is the most basic form of hacking performed today. The attackers simply “catch” the device’s International Mobile Subscriber Identity (IMSI) in a classic case of digital identity theft. The next step is spoofing authentication, where the Stingray “convinces” the genuine mobile network that it’s actually the targeted mobile phone for all communication purposes. This is done by the IMSI Catcher sending a Location Update Request to a legitimate cell tower and identifying itself with the stolen IMSI. Dealing with smartphone encryption security mechanisms is also not a big challenge due to the victim’s phone “helping” with the requests.

Location Tracking – Often overlooked by security service providers, location tracking is becoming more and more common as it requires no cooperation from cell providers. For law enforcement authorities to track suspects or criminals they (usually) require a warrant and the cooperation of mobile service providers. IMSI Catchers can now be used to check for the presence of a victim or perpetrator in a specific area or even figure out their exact location without the need for operator cooperation.

Denial of Service (DoS) – Cell network denial of service is executed by connecting the device to the fake cell tower. Once the device is on the fake tower, it’s not connected to the real network, and the device is denied connectivity. Only if the attacker chooses, then the device is connected to the network through the attacker’s system (aka Man-in-the-Middle).

The Emergence of IMSI Catcher Detection Solutions The cybersecurity market has grown at an exponential rate over the last decade. Yes, there are consumer solutions on offer to fight IMSI Catchers. However, as per recent WIRED research, the available consumer-level tools were found to be partially effective at best when it came to detecting malicious activity involving snooping. The reasons are quite clear. The basic GSM architecture is full of security loopholes that are tough to seal up completely. To a skilled hacker, smartphones are “dumb” devices that can work as per their wishes once they have been compromised.

Adam Adler ( Miami, FL) is a serial entrepreneur with over 18 years of experience all at top-level management and ownership. Primarily investing his own capital and building brands from the ground up. At the early age of 4, Adam began his tennis career at the world-renown Rick Macci Tennis Academy in South Florida. Adam remained a highly ranked Junior Tennis player for his entire junior career. Once completing high school, Mr. Adler received a scholarship to play tennis at the University of South Carolina and graduated in 2007 Magna Cum Laude from USC, double majoring in Sports & Entertainment Management and Business. While at USC, Adam began his career by developing a patented algorithmic software as the base for his social networking company, Ultimate Social Networking Inc (USNI), and developing Ultimate College Model, seeing this to acquisition. Adam’s love for completion never waned. Adam began playing poker in his free time and quickly became entrenched in the game, studying hours a day. Adam traveled around the country playing in some of the highest stakes No Limit and Pot Limit Omaha cash games in the world. Adam has made multiple World Series of Poker Final Tables, with his most notable finish coming in 2018 with a runner-up finish in the$10,000 Turbo Event. Adam has won millions of dollars in both cash game and tournament poker over the last 15 years. Adam’s second venture began with assembling a team of the best molecular scientists, mostly Merck and Amgen biochemists and formulators, and building out a multi-million dollar, 30,000 sq. ft. FDA/cGMP approved facility in Oxnard CA. This is where Adam’s passion for biotech really began. His sports background allowed him to take this brand and bring in global icons around a strategic marketing plan activating the world’s most iconic athletes and celebrities. Adam developed this revolutionary technology in 2009. Using sublingual, buccal mucosal, and transdermal absorption directly to the bloodstream, by-passing the GI tract, Adam’s company Fuse Science completely changed the way consumers receive vitamins, electrolytes, nutrients, and medicines. Going direct to the bloodstream, bypassing the GI Tract, the platform technology was a game-changer. Adam self-funded this company privately for over 2 years, developing the product line and securing the IP. As Chief Executive Officer, Adam grew the company rapidly, seeing its market cap increase from $500,000 to over $100,000,000. Adam put together one of the most impressive lists of athlete partners on the planet, signing Tiger Woods (including the rights to his bag for 5 years), Andy Murray, Tyson Chandler, Paul Pierce, Big Papi David Ortiz, Jose Bautista, Arian Foster, Paul Rodriguez, and many others. Adam’s deep-rooted relationships with the world’s top athletes and celebrities are his core group of friends along with business partners. Adam's handpicked a Fortune25 management team, hiring the President of SC Johnson, CEO of Footlocker, Chief Scientific Officer for Johnson & Johnson, Clinical Director at Merck, Head of Duke Sports Medicine, and had over 100 employees. Adam brought Daymond John and Shark Branding in as partners as well. Adam has placed products in over 100,000locations, including Walgreens, CVS, Sports Authority, Dick’s, Duane Reade, 7-11, GNC, Walmart, Target, Costco, Vitamin Shoppe, and many others. Mr. Adler is currently managing The Adler Fund, investing in real-estate emerging growth companies with a focus on cybersecurity, cannabis, and biotechnology.

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