Communications during a terrorist attack
COMMUNICATIONS

Communications During A Terrorist Attack

Communications during a terrorist attack

During a terrorist attack, there is a U.S. Government plan that will adversely affect your ability to communicate with your family/friends/co-workers. You will be completely cut-off.

You need to know this…


 
The U.S. Government has in force a plan that, in the event of another terrorist attack, will immediately cut-off EVERYONE’s ability to use cell phones, as this is the preferred communication source used by terrorists and is often the way that their bombs are detonated.

Does your family know what to do if you can’t contact one another by phone?

How will you communicate with your loved ones in the event you cannot use phones?
Bottom line, you need to have a plan!

 
After two bombs exploded at the finish line of the Boston Marathon on April 15, many Boston residents were unable to send or receive cellphone calls. Some believed cell networks were shut down to prevent the detonation of remote-control devices. There are also reports that the apparent suspended cell service in Boston was due to overloaded carriers. Regardless of whether or not the government shut down phone service in Boston, they do have a plan in place to do just that.

While cell towers are privately owned, they are licensed by the federal government, which has the authority to silence them in an emergency. The National Communications System, a subdivision of the Department of Homeland Security, has established a protocol for emergency interruptions.

The process can begin when a state authority, such as a governor, makes a shutdown request to state homeland security advisers. These advisers, employees of an agency called the National Coordinating Center, evaluate the request; if it seems valid, they contact the cellphone carriers, which must temporarily dismantle the networks by shutting off their base stations.

On a smaller scale, local law enforcement agencies—including city bluecoats and transit authorities have access to devices that can jam signals over specific areas and block target phones. They do not need consent from telecom companies to use them.

– slate.com

In 2006, the National Security Telecommunications Advisory Committee documented a set of rules for how emergency interruptions can be initiated, resulting in a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) 303, also called “Emergency Wireless Protocols.”

According to SOP 303, which has not been published but has been described in government documents, shutdowns are organized through an agency called the National Coordinating Center.

Cellphone carriers are onboard with SOP 303. According to their trade organization, the CTIA: “The development and implementation of SOP 303 involved substantial government and industry stakeholder participation, with the wireless industry supporting the procedures adopted.”

– buzzfeed.com

 
The plan is in place. They will use it. Are your ready?

Imagine the implications of a broad terrorist attack across the nation. The entire nationwide systems of wireless cell towers could potentially be shut down, leaving EVERYONE without cell communication. Should this happen nationwide, or regionally, you may be left in the dark, not being able to coordinate with your family/friends/other.

The solution? Have a plan, and don’t be surprised when it happens. Arrange ahead of time where you would meet. Have more than one place in mind (in case location #1 is within the attack zone). Since some people still do have ‘land lines’, you could arrange to call a certain someone who would be the coordinator and would relay messages. The caveat being that you would need to place your outgoing call on a land line, which may be difficult out on the street (when is the last time you saw a pay phone anywhere?)

If you have children who may be in school or daycare, be sure that they or their teacher/provider knows what to do (who to call on a land line versus cell phone), or who is authorized to pick up your children if you are not there.

Today’s modern world of cell phone communications also comes with its systemic risks, one of which is your government shutting them down in an emergency…

Have a plan.

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9 Comments

  1. Keep a copper land line.
    Make sure you have a POT – plain old telephone – not powered by AC.
    Your cordless phone will be useless of no power and the batteries run down.

    In the past I installed electro-mechanical mainline telephone exchanges. Non CPU controlled. They usually were powered with massive rectifies and batteries. There was always a back up genset with a large fuel reserve.
    The buildings were always EMP proof. Also all equipment was milspec.
    These electro-mechanical exchanges were extremely reliable. They were built to last for forty years.

    In some countries there was a master control key that let only nominated emergency numbers make calls.

    Modern computerised, centralised communication centres are extremely vulnerable to political, military and terrorist influences – not to mention solar flares or EMP’s. Fibre networks and remote nodes are prone to interference and failure.

    During the second world war the Dutch automated telephone system was used by the Dutch resistance and the allies all the while the Germans were completely ignorant of this.

    In a S.H.T.F situation the internet will go down and wireless (cellular) communication will be controlled. No VOIP calls.

    In the 2009 Australian bushfires, in some areas cellular communications were lost as well as electrical power. People in that area were panicking because of the lack of communications.

    1. “Modern computerised, centralised communication centres are extremely vulnerable to political, military and terrorist influences”

      …that sure is the truth, and the notion goes well beyond just communications. Some of our modern technology enables growth and efficiencies while it also opens the door for dependency, abuse, and control. It’s a double edged sword…

  2. I got into amateur radio just for that reason. I keep a few hand-held transceivers in a Faraday cage and have several mobile radios. It’s a fun hobby and could possibly be the last means of communication either close or distances. A POT, or plain old telephone won’t work if the phone company doesn’t work. Amateur radio transceivers work in most severe situations. It requires a little study to get a license but almost anyone can learn what’s necessary.

  3. The question about what happened to the phone service in Boston is a very good one. We watched news stories ‘rewrite themselves’ realtime on the internet; initially quoting nameless federal officials as saying they had closed down cell phone service around the affected area, then changing to say that this was NOT happening and it was simply the services being overloaded.

    There’s a third possibility, not discussed in my article, but subsequently shared with me by a wireless telecoms insider.

    Most emergency services have the ability to get priority override access to cell phone towers, knocking ordinary users off. With the huge number of first responders, police, and various other shadowy services all on the scene, it is quite possible that their demands on the nearby cell towers simply displaced everyone else.

    As long as cell phone service is not blocked, the best strategy is to send short text messages. SMS, not MMS. No photos or anything, just short text messages.

    Text messages are designed to ‘fit in the gaps’ of regular cell phone service and while it might take a while for them to get sent all the way through the system, they are much more likely to squeeze through an overloaded system than will a voice call.

    We definitely like using amateur radio as a back up communications option, but you need to understand the range limits on such radios, especially in an urban jungle. You might find they can only punch a signal out a block or two. On the other hand, you might also find that there are active repeaters still functioning which can relay your calls a much greater distance.

    We know some people who have bought ham radio gear without a ham license and said ‘WTSHTF I’ll start using it and no-one will care’. That may or may not be true, but we don’t think it sensible, either which way. Better to get licensed (we tell you how in linked articles, it can be surprisingly simple) and then you can practice with them prior to a genuine emergency.

    The ability to understand what sort of coverage and range to expect, and to experiment with different antennas, and to become familiar with local repeaters could make all the difference between being able to coordinate a response to an event with your loved ones and dependents or not.

    Maintaining a landline (actually referred to as POTS not POT – the S stands for Service) is a good idea, of course, but as has already been commented, it is much less than invulnerable, and besides which, many of us have ‘POTS’ that isn’t POTS – landline service provided by cable companies, or carried over fiber, or whatever else, which increases the service vulnerability further.

    Besides which, with our ‘always connected’ expectation, while having a landline at home or at work is prudent, what about people who are away from a landline and left with only a non-working cellphone?

    As in all things, you need multiple alternate approaches. Cell phone, VHF/UHF radio, and landlines. Smoke signals, flares, and mirrors too, perhaps! :)

  4. While I’m not completely sure, I believe this was a shut-down of Boston-area cell phones and not an “overloaded” network. The reason I say this is because a friend of mine who moved from Boston to Oregon could not use her cell phone that day. Her cell phone still has her Boston area code. cell phones (mobile phones really) act as radios – if it was an issue of “overload” she should still have been able to use her phone as it was picking up ‘local’ frequency.

  5. cell phone repeaters are cheap, if enough far away neighbors had them than you should be able to get out in many different directions if a cell tower was intentionally shut down, however they come in different frequencies and you and your neighbors would have to use the same. CB radio is a back up and something that is very cheap and no license required.That is interesting that the person in oregon could not use the cell phone that was tethered to a boston number, how could that be?

  6. I HAVE HAD EXCELLENT SERVICE FROM CD RADIOS,,,,I HAVE A BASE UNIT IN MY HOME AND HAVE MY CREW CARRYING COBR WALKIE TALKIES WITH THEM AT ALL TIMES,,,THE WALKIE TALKIES HAVE A 35 MILE RANG AND IM ABLE TO COMMUNICATE WITH THEM AT OR VERRRRY NEAR THESE RANGES

  7. The reason I say this is because a friend of mine who moved from Boston to Oregon could not use her cell phone that day. Her cell phone still has her Boston area code. cell phones (mobile phones really) act as radios – if it was an issue of “overload” she should still have been able to use her phone as it was picking up ‘local’ frequency.

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