Priority Cell Phones for First Responders

Schneier on Security: Priority Cell Phones for First Responders: “I wonder how long before someone hacks that system.” - Correct me if I’m wrong (I haven’t really touched non-VoIP voice systems since around 1999, so I probably wrong), but this is a brute force approach to a system we’ve had in land-lines for years – the capability for some users to acquire a priority path in an overload condition. In practice, it wasn’t available to most first responders, just people with some level of clearance. The only time it was ever used was on 9/11/01. As I remember it, all it got you was a reserved path with priority in an overload condition, so it wasn’t much use unless the network was already gridlocked (I’d be surprised if it wasn’t hacked already). That said, cell networks are a bit more prone to being overloaded, so even that scheme would be useful to hack. However ACCOLC is not the land-line scheme – it appears to allow whoever controls it (legitimately or otherwise) to completely shut down the network. Verizon’s new motto could be “DoS me.”