Saturday, March 20, 2010

Bugging a Cell Phone

A few years ago it was not possible to bug a cell phone. Now, smart cell phones are like miniature computers, and like computers, it is possible to install spyware (aka malware) on them.

If you suspect that spyware has been placed on your smart cell phone it is possible for the person who installed it to download your email, photos, chats, and address book. They will know where you are (or at least where your phone is), and even remotely be able to turn your camera on to see what it sees.

With installed spyware, even if you have turned your cell phone off, it can be switched on from anywhere. The microphone can then pick up any sounds within a few feet of the phone, without you being aware of it, and effectively let the caller listen in on conversations in the room or vehicle.

If someone targets your phone, the spyware can be electronically installed when you open an attachment to your email, when you text, or even via your Bluetooth, if you use one.

Once spyware gets installed on to your smart phone, it's impossible to tell who placed it there. And what's more, it cannot be removed. The only thing that can be done is replace the phone.

If law enforcement taps your cell phone they usually do it through the phone company's switching station. By the way, if you are breaking the law, the authorities are within their rights to bug your phone, therefore enabling them to detect where you are. If you buy a prepaid cell phone you are not invulnerable. The authorities have ways to track your identity through your purchase, even if you pay cash.

If you are concerned about your cell phone being "bugged", it is better to use an "old-fashioned" cell phone, not a smart phone. If you do have a smart phone, never give your number to anyone whom you don't completely trust.

And...never say anything on a phone, landline or cell, that you wouldn't want the world to know about.

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