Terrorist used handheld VoIP phones in Mumbai Attacks

The Mumbai terrorists’ most powerful weapon appears not to have been guns or grenades, but instead their handheld VoIP phones, which allowed them to get detailed, live instructions from handlers on how to evade police, and where to attack next, while the police were powerless to detect them.

It was reported that the handlers were communicating with the attackers using VoIP phones that made it difficult, if not impossible, for the Indian authorities to intercept the calls, or even know they were taking place. Indian security forces surrounding the buildings were able to monitor the terrorist’s outgoing calls by intercepting their cellphone signals. But Indian police officials said those directing the attacks, who are believed to be from Lashkar-e-Taiba, a militant group based in Pakistan, were using a Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) phone service, which has complicated efforts to determine their whereabouts and identities.

The biggest problem wasn’t in determining the whereabouts or identities of those directing the attack, but in being able to intercept their communications. If the authorities could intercept the communications, they could know the terrorist’s next actions, said a source from the police department. There is a little bit of good news here, though. The (security) experts said that VoIP calls left a far richer data trail for investigators to mine than someone calling from an old-fashioned pay phone. Maybe the terrorist plan of using VoIP technology for their evil deeds and go undirected might just have backfired and now authorities now have more information about their activities than they envisaged.

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