A major, virtually unfixable, security flaw in the design of nearly all cell phones and other mobile devices will be announced this week by researchers at the Foundation for Microwave Safety (FMS). According to sources, it turns out that due to a coincidence in engineering, ordinary household microwave ovens can actually be used to receive and eavesdrop on all cell phone calls made or received within a 1 mile radius. Better yet, you can also use them to broadcast to all cell phones within a 1 mile radius!
According to the study, which will be released next week, the technique is ludicrously easy: simply go to any microwave oven. Set the power level to high. Next, on the microwave keypad or time setting dial, enter a time in that is at least a minute or so. Then hit the "Start" button. Next, press your ear against the microwave oven door as it runs and listen carefully -- you won't believe it, but you will actually hear cell phone calls. If you then wish to broadcast to all the calls you are hearing, simply speak loudly, while your head is pressed against the microwave door.
(Editor's Note -- WARNING: Do not try this at home!!! Permanent injury may result -- Please see warning at end of article. If you try this you may end up cooking your brain. If your brain is already cooked, make sure you set your microwave on "Reheat: Canned Vegetables" setting to avoid over-cooking, and season lightly with salt and butter.)
Why does this work? It turns out that the microwave transmission elements in ordinary microwave ovens are not so different from what's in your everyday cell phone, except much broader spectrum and slightly more power. "When microwave ovens run they act not only as transmitters, but also as receivers -- or what are called 'transceivers,'" says Philippe Connerie, of the FMS.
Although there is no true audio output or input, the microwave shielding in the case still resonates to the frequency of whatever is being received. If you press your head tightly against the casing you can hear these vibrations -- which are actual cell phone calls. When you speak it sends resonance back through the shielding which scatters the reflected microwaves to the frequency of your voice, which are then received back into the microwave, acting as modulators of the carrier wave of the emitter, which effectively broadcasts what you are saying across a range of microwave frequencies at once. Click here to read the paper.
WARNING: Pressing your head against any device that is actively emitting microwaves -- such as microwave ovens, cell phones, or other mobile devices -- may result in permanent injury, brain damage, cancer or death. Please do not do this, unless you are really stupid, in which case, go right ahead. But first read the paper (linked above) so that you understand that this is truly not something worth doing. If after reading that paper you still insist on trying this then I give up. -- The Editor