Weekly Current Affairs

Army yet to hack new terror tech [Defence]

  • More than year after new technological solution used by terrorists began causing headache to Army in Kashmir, no breakthrough been made to crack it.
  • Terrorists infiltrating from Pakistan have been using smartphones paired with very high frequency (VHF) radio sets to communicate with one another, resulting in a drop in communication intercepts and adversely affecting military efforts to deal with them.
  • An indigenous contraption was developed and tested in various spots under the Northern Command in recent months. It failed to locate any communication on the YSMS [pairing of smartphones with radio sets to send out short SMSs].
  • The Defence Research and Development Organisation is believed to have developed the contraption.
  • Security establishment estimates show that in South Kashmir, anywhere between 40 and 50 terrorists entered from Pakistan this year while the official estimate was 38.
  • The concept of pairing mobile phones with radio handsets originated in the wake of Hurricane Sandy in New York in 2012. This mode of sending mobile communications without using mobile towers is of great help for rescue operations during calamities, but is now among the key technology deployed by terrorists to avoid the security forces while crossing the Line of Control.
  • Terrorists also use other technologies such as self-destroying chats and end-to- end encryption to overcome interception.
  • The specifics of the mobile phones being paired with radio sets emerged when the Army nabbed Pakistani militant Sajjad Ahmad last August. He was arrested after three others who infiltrated with him were killed in a cave in south Kashmir.
  • This technology is secure and active even in high peaks and forests especially near the Line of Control where conventional mobile and satellite phones can give away their location.
  • A YSMS gadget recovered was a Samsung smartphone paired with a traditional radio set, and not the special GoTenna gadget developed in U.S. after Hurricane Sandy. This means the solution is either a Chinese or a Pakistani one.