Why Intercepting Satellite Phones is a challenge for Intelligence Agencies
The widely used Global Mobile Personal Communication Systems (GMPCS) such as Iridium, Thuraya and Inmarsat have global coverage and does not depend on the standard terrestrial communication networks for their communication. This poses a major interception challenge to the Government agencies which are involved in maintaining law and order and homeland security. The utilization of Satellite Phone by terrorists, criminals and anti-national elements are proving to be a big concern for intelligence agencies when it comes to the interception of satellite phones.
Before gaining insight on these challenges faced by intelligence agencies, let’s quickly know more about satellite phones, it’s interception and underlying obstructions further.
A satellite phone can be understood as a type of cell phone that links to either another satellite phone or any other PSTN phone. This is made possible by means of Geo-stationary satellites or satellites that revolve around earth in specific orbits which relay the signals from the satellite phones.
Challenges in interception
a) Non-dependence on Terrestrial Networks: Satellite phones are utilized by organizations operating outside the coverage range of mobile phones, for example in shipping, oil & gas exploration, and for military use. Satellite phones are also used by people who want to avoid the public telephone networks which are easy to intercept.
Intelligence agencies come into the picture with regards to the collection and analysis of information. The main purpose of intelligence is to create an accurate activity profile comprising of terrorists and their activities. Interception of satellite phone communication require specialized equipment and Stratign’s satellite interception solutions provide an easy tool to the Intelligence agencies to intercept and analyze GMPCS communications.
b) Encryption: Intelligence agencies constantly face a challenge with the fact that phone-tapping and interceptions are now yielding declining returns as terrorists have found unique ways of staying ahead of them. Terrorists are increasingly using utilizing the new-generation Inmarsat, Iridium and Thuraya satellite phones, making their interception difficult. Even though these phones can be monitored off the air, their conversation is only obtainable in encrypted format. This necessitates decryption of the signals to extract intelligence information from the calls. Stratign has developed state-of-the-art decryptors which can decrypt these communications in real time.
Hence, another concern considering the above would be changing communication patterns. Before, lawful interception was straightforward & less complex because it was restricted to circuit-switched networks containing voice traffic. Today, terrorists have an extensive range of cutting-edge, encrypted communication channels accessible to them, and several of those channels depend on resources located externally via the jurisdiction of the body proceeding the interception warrant. With the communication patterns constantly changing, the scope of interception has broadened, which presents a genuine challenge to these agencies.
c) Frequency Reuse: Another challenge faced by the interception agencies is the frequency reuse and dynamic frequency re-allocation being done by the satellite service providers. The interception hardware being used need to be frequency agile and should be able to automatically tune to the active spot beam frequencies failing which, the communication would be lost. Stratign’s GMPCS interception systems automatically tunes it’s receivers to the active frequencies in range, thereby making the system frequency agile. With Stratign, get your access to customized solutions for Satellite Interception System. We recommend intelligence agencies to opt for our automated platform that conducts passive collection of satellite transported information which would aid them to extract plain voice/ fax and data information.
Stratign provides solutions that are customized to your requirements for Communication Surveillance and Intelligence. This comprises of diverse communication interception & collection approaches, processing tools and signal analysis along with high-quality stand-alone decoding & demodulation systems which can be assimilated into your existing intelligence systems.