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Getting information from GSM


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Using SDR and related hardware such as HackRF or other dongles- I know its possible to sniff out GSM using wireshark and so on.

However- is it possible to retrieve information such as IMEI# and IMSI# through this method?

Does it involve decrypting/cracking? As of now- I am just interested in retrieving IMEI# and IMSI#. I do not want to know where a call is being made or what text is being sent.

I am quite new to SDR and GSM technologies- so please bear with me. Doing my part of research- I have come to conclusion that it might be possible but have decided to confirm with the group who have most likely already achieved this.

Really appreciated it. Thank you.

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All I know is the GSM standard defines several encryption standards for the communication link between your handset and the tower, however one of those standards is 'no encryption at all' and another one has been cracked already. There is a push to stop support for the defeated and the absent encryption standards, but network operators trying to milk their hardware for every drop it has are fighting tooth and nail to prevent it.

There's a good history document about it on the Osmocom website.

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Have a look at this. http://web.archive.org/web/20131025003847/http://domonkos.tomcsanyi.net/?p=418

The original page doesn't seem to want to load for me, so I grabbed it off of Wayback Machine. Be sure to read through the PDF he references at the beginning of the article. Its a bit long but VERY clearly explains how GSM works which is invaluable when it comes to analyzing the traffic you'll see.

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