<Prev | [Index] | Next>

Date: Wed, 27 Dec 2017 13:35:14 -0500

I have been reading comp.risks for at least 30 years. It has been an incredible source of insight, amusement and food for thought. Like all self-selecting groups, there is a risk that the submitters and readers of comp.risks shares too many similar concerns and educational background.

With the explosive growth of the Internet over the last few decades, the nature of risks also changes across national and cultural boundaries. What is a risk in the West, may be much less relevant outside the West.

The first real discussion I can find on comp.risks about IMSI-catchers is
RISKS-27.33 in 2013. Coincidentally, I was in Beijing around that time and chatting with a PhD student friend who was complaining about the number of
SMS UCEMs they were getting. When I inquired further as to they don't just block the sender, it turns out there are plenty of fake base stations in all
Chinese urban areas whose raison d'etre is to inject Macau gambling UCEM into every phone it can connect to. The sender number is generated and changes with every UCEM. The cellular operators are not in a position to block these pop-up -catchers. I was told these IMSI catchers were quite cheap to get and operate.

While the risk associated with 3PLA capturing and recording every message to/from every phone is an accepted reality in China, there is an additional layer of risks associated with your smartphone being constantly under attack by anyone who could afford a cheap UCEM injector which as far as I know doesn't to exist in Western Europe and North America.

I gave this only as an example of risks affected by geographical and
Societal context which can easily be diluted or transformed across societal boundaries. It behooves us as computer professionals interested in various computer-related risk to society, to remember that the Internet is not a homogeneous cultural community of interest. The severity and relevance of any risk must be placed in geographical, societal or cultural context.

<Prev | [Index] | Next>