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Burner Phones from a SIGINT Perspective

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This topic contains 6 replies, has 5 voices, and was last updated by Profile photo of Joe (G.W.N.S.) Joe (G.W.N.S.) 1 month, 1 week ago.

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    Profile photo of Joe (G.W.N.S.)
    Joe (G.W.N.S.)

    This article by Heimdall.

    Heimdall is a former Signals Intelligence (SIGINT) Collector and Analyst with tactical and operational experience, including multiple deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan.

    One definition of Operations Security (OPSEC) is the protection of critical information. It’s probably safe to say that freedom fighters who find themselves operating in a semi-permissive or non-permissive environment and conducting security missions against a tyrannical regime would consider their personal identities, the location of their homes, the identities of their closest friends and business associates, among other information, critical information worthy of protection under OPSEC.

    Let’s talk baseline. Every single place you go, the roads and sidewalk you take to get there, and every single person or business you call is your baseline. Time of day is a dimension in each of these things as well.

    This is an outstanding article packed with quality information, a true must read.

    But here is the key: NONE of those phones are ever used to contact anybody truly associated with the user. Call businesses you NEVER go to. Call people with have no personal connection (bonus points for calling oppressive elements of the state, get the dog chasing it’s own tail). As a matter of fact, your real phones and your burner phones should never be co-located.

    Bold is mine and is worth great consideration and thought to future possibilities!

    Profile photo of Max Velocity

    (Reply not from Max, a result of the subscription changeover)

    I’m surprised there aren’t any replies/questions concerning this very important topic. All missions are doomed if proper COMSEC and OPSEC protocols aren’t adhered to by everyone involved. This stuff may seem boring and dry when compared to the bang bang stuff but it will compromise you before you ever go hot if you fail to practice. Thanks for the great info.

    Alpha Mike Foxtrot…Gulf War I…21SOS…somewhere in the Magic Kingdom

    NSA approved reply

    Profile photo of

    Hey dredd – Glad to hear that you get this stuff. If only everyone else did…

    Also, thank you for your service.

    Profile photo of

    Loved the article and took its lessons to heart.
    Just not ready to invest in lots of extra phones yet :)

    Profile photo of Trailman

    Ive been looking at this for while now. How do you activate the phone anonymously?

    CRM, CTT 1501, CP11/15, CTT5/16, FoF, DCH, CLC Opfor, Team Minion

    Just remember, Anne Frank was a criminal because the government made her one and she died because she broke the law.

    Profile photo of Joe (G.W.N.S.)
    Joe (G.W.N.S.)

    Ive been looking at this for while now. How do you activate the phone anonymously?

    Prepaid phone cards bought by cash, registered at either non-connected (to user) phone or anonymously online (library etc…), done far from your AO.

    Use of a cutout to purchase is best.

    (real phones and your burner phones should never be co-located)

    Profile photo of Joe (G.W.N.S.)
    Joe (G.W.N.S.)

    When choosing these prepaid phones ensure its a service that works well in your AO.

    Understand that phone technology changes, the phones I purchased in 2000 are obsolete.

    The SIM cards can also change standards.

    How often? Not very often, but if you’ve been doing this as long as I have it does happen so you need to keep up with it.

    The prepaid cards you purchased with cash don’t last forever either, depending on carrier.

    I place a emphasis on stupid phones, like flip phones without GPS capability, yes they can still be tracked, but why make it easier.

    Are there alternatives?

    A basic tablet; again no GPS, can do VOIP with a variety of free services over a WIFI or MIFI connection. You can change phone numbers easily and even do text and voice messages. Again same rules apply about calling phones connected to you.

    Consider all of the free WIFI areas that could be used.

    Use a VPN or TOR though understand that this is not fullproof, just less traditional and who you are communicating with.

    It’s possible to use an appropriate yagi antennas to extend range so your not sitting inside McDonald’s when investigators show up.

    Additionally a mesh network can extend your standoff distance.

    Could be useful if your trying to identify those after you.

    P2P WiFi and bluetooth can also allow shortrange comms with low probability of intercept.

    There are many options depending on your preparations and knowledge.

    Sharing a Email account where you leave drafts, but never send them maybe if use as well. Again can be tracked, depending on how high a priority you are and how bad they want you.

    With forethought a less apparent codes can be used and don’t overlook image steganography with text and email.

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