Ninja Tel - an amateur wireless telephone network on Defcon

    The WiFi network at the annual Defcon Conference is the haven of a whole bunch of enthusiasts who think of something not very good, constantly intercepting packets, scanning ports and using any available vulnerabilities just for the sake of hacking. This year, a private telephone network was organized on top of it.

    The launch of their own cellular networks has already happened more than once, for example, at the Chaos Communication Congress in Berlin. A couple of years ago, publicly announced on GSM compromise, the format of cellular networks, so hackers have long been looking for alternative protocols. The Ninja Networks team took SIP on top of WiFi and regular GSM as the basis.

    One of the organizers of the project, Brandon “cstone” Creighton, said that they launched their own telephone company with pure enthusiasm, officially sponsored by giants such as Zynga and Facebook. The most popular social networking service has long been trying to create its own mobile platform, and although Mark Zuckerberg has denied such rumors in a recent financial report, there is a distinct interest in the work of hackers from Facebook.

    Friends of the creators of Ninja Tel and helpers received 650 HTC One V devices with the highly modified Android 4.0.3 operating system. Ice Cream Sandwich can route calls via GSM or SIP over a dedicated part of the Defcon WiFi, which the team engineers used. Each subscriber’s phone has a contact synchronization application, so a new subscriber can write and call from the moment of registration. The user’s contact has an individual number and login selected by the user, as well as an avatar photo.

    The user receives a phone with a special SIM card. At the first boot, the phone displays an unusual, but very honest user agreement, stating that from now on Ninja Tel has the right to listen and read, as well as record and use any messages sent on the network, of which the new subscriber becomes a part. However, as noted in the agreement, AT&T also provides all the necessary data at the request of the US National Security Administration, and the entire network was built just like that, for the sake of the fan.

    A van with the Ninja Tel logo parked in the corresponding section of the conference is not distinguished by anything other than a three-half-meter antenna on the roof and a lot of equipment inside that provides the base station and Asterisk and OpenBTS programs. The network does not have encryption, there are no emergency phones, but it is possible to make calls, write, arrange conference calls or play a small game with other people, for which, again, servers were installed in the van. The fathers say that it turned out to be the largest OpenBTS network in history.

    Work on the project took 10 months, and its cost was not disclosed. The network worked not without failures, and only 650 out of 13 thousand attending the conference received telephone sets, but all the others showed a strong interest in Ninja Tel. Entrance to a closed club of subscribers of an annually convened network can be literally earned by blood: by signing up for bone marrow or blood donation, by donating to the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

    Of course, they tried to hack the network of the hacker conference, but the only attempt was unsuccessful. The creators of the network themselves say that they are a constructive group who want to create something new, and not to make money by breaking a good name.

    Based on materials from Cnet .

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