Wednesday, December 10, 2008

VOIP handicaps response to terrorist attack

Indian police officials said that the terrorists who struck Mumbai in November were directed by people using Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) phone service, which complicated efforts to trace and intercept the calls. A month earlier, a draft United States Army report highlighted the interest of Islamic militants, such as the Taliban, in using VoIP.

To locate a VoIP caller, investigators need access to service provider databases that track the unique numerical identifier (I.P. address) of the device the subscriber uses to connect to the Internet. Additional work is then needed to locate the device, which can take days longer than a phone .

See, "Mumbai Terrorists Relied on New Technology for Attacks," New York Times, December 9, 2008, at

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Fake call puts nuclear Pakistan on highest alert

A hoax phone call to the President of Pakistan led the nuclear-armed nation to put its air force on highest alert. On late Friday evening, November 28, on the heels of the Mumbai terrorist attacks, senior members of President Asif Ali Zardari's staff bypassed standard call verification procedures and transferred to Mr. Zardari a caller claiming to be Indian External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee. The caller directly threatened to take military action if Pakistan failed to immediately act against the perpetrators of the Mumbai attacks.

Following the call, signals were sent out about how the situation could rapidly spiral out of control. A top Pakistan security officials advised the media that it might shift tens of thousands of troops from its western border with Afghanistan to its eastern frontier with India.

See, "A hoax call that could have triggered war," Dawn, December 6, 2008, at .