Snoop Snitch: Counter-Surveillance App for Cell Phones – Forward Observer Shop

Snoop Snitch: Counter-Surveillance App for Cell Phones

In July 2014, U.S. users of CryptoPhone 500 noticed something odd: a smattering of fake cell towers, known as “interceptors”, attempting to trick cellular phones into revealing data.  But the story was more concerning than that.  Under normal circumstances, your cell phone connects to a nearby cell tower, which has a name.  In the case of these nameless interceptor towers, not only were CryptoPhones automatically forced to connect, but their phones’ encryption were shut down, allowing the towers access to unencrypted data on the phone.

It was later discovered that these towers were operated by the federal government by organizations such as the NSA.  And it doesn’t stop there; even local law enforcement agencies are getting in on the snooping action through the use of StingRays.  These devices not only capture cell phones’ IMSI numbers, which can be used to identify individual owners of cell phones, but they can also be used to spy on phone calls and text messages.  At least 18 states have these types of towers, which mimic common carriers like AT&T and Verizon.  Since then, these types of stories have ignited further privacy concerns over cell phones and what information they make available, especially in light of NSA surveillance.

In response, Security Research Labs recently published SnoopSnitch, an Android-based cell phone app that discovers and alerts users to connecting interceptor towers.

“SnoopSnitch is an Android app that collects and analyzes mobile radio data to make you aware of your mobile network security and to warn you about threats like fake base stations (IMSI catchers), user tracking and over-the-air updates. With SnoopSnitch you can use the data collected in the GSM Security Map at and contribute your own data to GSM Map,” according to the company’s website.

Tower location information is collected and mapped by the many users of SnoopSnitch, and available to see through the phone app.  According to users, there is not enough information collected to produce a map in the U.S.

Right now, SnoopSnitch is only available for phones with Qualcomm chipsets running the Android phone platform.


Mike Shelby is a former military intelligence NCO and contract intelligence analyst. He spent three years in Iraq and Afghanistan and is now the intelligence and warfare researcher at Forward Observer.


  1. THis is pretty cool. It won’t work on my phone though, which sucks. The app said it won’t work because my phone is not rooted, so just because your phone meets the criteria listed above int his article, it may not work still. Oh well.

  2. You should check out Net Change Detector by MobileResearch.ST. It’s an imsi catcher detector that doesn’t require root on the phones. It’s also very very simple to use and is not based on rocket science, cause it depends on the user adding in some input to what’s around.

  3. Check out Net Change Detector by MobileResearch.ST on the google play store. It doesn’t need root access on your phone, and is easier to figure out and use. It let’s you put in some values to get rid of any false alerts (lacs that are in the area), which makes it bullet proof. Unlike these other ones.

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