Urban guerillas have also learned to make
use of the benefits of network centric communications, using modern
technologies such as wireless phones, cellular networks, and the
Internet. Their communications merge with normal commercial traffic as
the guerillas try to evade Signal Intelligence (SIGINT) monitoring.
With careful preparation (including legal approval) and persistent
surveillance by SIGINT specialists, commercial communications can be
monitored in order to provide valuable operational intelligence.
Commercial communications targeted SIGINT requires special equipment
that mimics a cellular communications cell, diverting subscriber
communications traffic from the commercial cell without the
subscriber's knowledge, and then analyzing it and passing the
transmissions back to the commercial network. This process enables
monitoring, identifying, and tracing specific subscribers and even
tapping selected calls.
Other means are available for tapping into central cellular and
Telephone Company (TELCO) switchboards, allowing intelligence agencies
to screen thousands of calls and intercept communications between
suspects based on voice signature, or usage of specific words, names,
or locations. Similar activities performed over the Internet include
‘data mining’ e-mail and Internet traffic for valuable intelligence.
In order to be considered ‘valuable’, information does not have to
include words such as "bomb" or "IED.” Data mining can be accomplished
using criteria that are more general, including usage patterns,
communication with known or suspected IP addresses and traffic to and
from specific locations.
Remote activation of explosive devices is another capability of
commercial communications used by urban guerillas. Wireless phones,
remote control equipment, and infrared remote controls are some of the
activation devices that have been used by insurgents in the Middle
East for the past few decades. Military forces are countering this
threat with a wide range of countermeasures, constantly improved to
attempt to stay ahead of evolving threats. Consequently, unlike common
Information Warfare operations, where jammers are only employed by
specialist Electronic Warfare units, Urban Combat (UC) and SASO
require the use of
IED Jammers by
every combat vehicle, EOD team and even
by dismounted patrols. This trend has led to the development of
reliable, effective, "switch on and forget" jammers that can
effectively combat remote triggering of IEDs without degradation of
the vehicle’s or individual's communications system. This type of
electronic warfare has created many electronic engineering challenges.