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I recently became curious about what it would take to observe cellular activity in the area on my computer. Obviously the necessary hardware wouldn't be standard, but does any hardware exist that would make this possible.

I did some Googling and didn't find anything mentioning this. Has anyone heard of this being done?

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You need a GSM module - there has been a lot of work done on analysing and hacking GSM signals and networks. Hardware is readily available and pretty cheap these days.

Googling GSM hacking will get you some useful results.

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Thanks. That's what I needed! –  Dan Jan 18 '13 at 17:49

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