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I am trying to find out if I can uniquely identify smartphones (I would like to find constant identifiers such as IMEI) by passively sniffing the cellular data frequencies.

I know that sensitive data such as SMS/DATA/CALLS are generally encrypted. I'm interested in only mapping nearby phones or cellular enabled devices.

An analogy could be gathering the MAC address of all the network equipment on an ethernet network.

So here I am, doing a reality-check to see if I am planning (I'd probably use some antenna and a Linux environment, as I doubt that Windows can handle the task) to miserably waste my time. Thanks. ;)

  • windows can run all those $10 SDRs, no need for Tux – dandavis Dec 7 '16 at 16:36
  • @dandavis good to know! – beppe9000 Dec 8 '16 at 17:45
  • did you end up finding a viable solution for your query ? if so i'd be curious to hear – I'm a TI calculator Sep 20 at 22:46
  • From my limited understanding of the protocol at the time it seems the original equipment IMEI is used only during first tower connection, afterward it's replaced by a temporary identifier that should stay the same between different towers, so in the end I stuck with bluetooth and wifi for that project... An active approach could have been to jam the signal to force a reconnect but interfering with communications networks it's illegal in my country so i did not check that in detail. – beppe9000 Sep 21 at 16:53

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