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Are cell phones really that insecure.....?? 6.8SPC General Discussion 43 10-21-2019 01:46 AM
Polite vs. Cell Phones PalmettoTree General Discussion 22 12-04-2017 10:53 AM

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Old 01-28-2019, 01:04 AM
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Originally Posted by Edward4576 View Post
I'm an old telcom worker. Yes any phone can be tapped. It doesn't require special equipment at the Central Office. Translations in the switch at the CO routes it over a specified trunk in and out (to whom ever you called).

Both sides of the conversation are available. I've "heard" that software on the phone can allow remote activation of your phone.

Best bet is an RF proof container such as this:

https://www.amazon.com/Anti-tracking.../dp/B00ITR3KCQ

Test to see if it works by calling your phone. Some older smart phone allow the battery to be removed etc.

On today's networks your conversation isn't encrypted, just digitized.
If your phone is being bugged by a competent agency, merely putting it into an RF proof container is not going to stop it from recording voice or data and sending it later to the mothership. A large hammer is a better tool.
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Old 01-28-2019, 01:15 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Outpost75 View Post
I am told that even a STU-3 isn't completely secure if operated other than within a SCIF.
It could be a TEMPEST issue where the STU-3 electronics spew signals that can be recorded and analyzed.

If you look at surplus auctions of even very old equipment that belonged to NSA you will find a lot of wideband receivers made by Watkins Johnson and others as well as IF (Intermediate Frequency) to tape, recorders. That technology has improved to the point where wide swatches of radio bandwidth can be recorded and played back later for cryptoanalysis.

While it is unlikely that random citizens are being targeted with this equipment, if you live in a particularly politically significant location, or you attend protest rallies or you belong to a targeted group, you may be recorded.

The NSA has the capability of collecting everything and has a warehouse for this data. At some point everyone will have something recorded there. What should be concerning then, is that if Joe Sixpack at sometime later in his life decides to run for governor, somebody with an axe to grind (and money, political connections or both) can dig up dirt on Joe Sixpack and end his career. We just had that happen here with the new secretary of state. He ****ed off someone, they dug up an old picture and now he is toast.
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Old 01-28-2019, 08:03 AM
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All those free apps that you give permission to use your microphone and camera.

And the NSA.
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Old 01-28-2019, 08:15 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Edward4576 View Post
.

Best bet is an RF proof container such as this:

https://www.amazon.com/Anti-tracking.../dp/B00ITR3KCQ

Test to see if it works by calling your phone. Some older smart phone allow the battery to be removed etc.

On today's networks your conversation isn't encrypted, just digitized.
why do you think anything commercially available would be allowed to work?
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Old 01-28-2019, 08:49 AM
gungatim gungatim is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sarco2000 View Post
If you mean voice transmissions:

It's not as easy as it used to be, and probably not as easy as people think it is to listen in. Before they went digital you could literally listen to a cell phone conversation with a cheap scanner. (You can still do that with cordless landline phones)

Now they're digital transmissions, and they have some basic level of encryption and I'm not sure what type. So regular folks can't spy. I mean you can hear it with a digital scanner but it will be beeps and noises.

Not sure how you would get the equipment to decrypt it, but I'm sure its out there on the black market somewhere. Would be illegal to possess for everyone except Big Brother.
.
very true, was going to post the same thing. used to be called warspying, drive around and listen to peoples cell phone conversations. it can still be done, you just need decryption software, no different that listening to any other encrypted digital transmission, say for example cops, military, etc. and yes it's out there. no real equipment other than what an average amateur radio enthusiast already has, you just need the software.


remember, a cell phone is just a 2 way radio. you send out a transmission and anyone can receive it...doesn't matter if it is a voice, text, picture, or whatever.
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Old 01-29-2019, 12:44 PM
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Worst and most widespread instance here, though it's used relatively benignly at this point in time: Facebook. If you have the Facebook or the Facebook Messenger app installed on your phone, it will listen to your conversations while your phone is on you. If you're one of the less-paranoid types that will still use Facebook, then give it a try. Install the app, make sure everything is signed in to your account, and then just roam around a bit and deliberately have a very seeded conversation about something that can be sold to you. For extra affect, talk about something that you'd never have searched for before. Mention buying specific concert tickets, a specific local event, needing to buy some brand of clothing, or whatever it is. Something that has very obvious potential that they could advertise to you by reminding you about the product and thus displaying ads in Facebook later that day.

I've tried this one myself and it's pretty fun to exploit. So far, I've got it to try to sell me ice-based entertainment from the internationally-famous animated mouse company (worded like that so that if you wanted to try that one, my mention of the branding won't trigger advertising based on cookie history) and also some odd-ball clothing I've never once shopped for. What I'm still not sure of is if it's listening for keywords "I need to shop for..." "I want to go see..." etc, or if it's based off of GPS location proximity to other Facebook users on your friend's list. Both attempts were done with a friend of mine and we both had our phones on us at the time.
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Old 01-29-2019, 01:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RFI-EMI-GUY View Post
It could be a TEMPEST issue where the STU-3 electronics spew signals that can be recorded and analyzed.

If you look at surplus auctions of even very old equipment that belonged to NSA you will find a lot of wideband receivers made by Watkins Johnson and others as well as IF (Intermediate Frequency) to tape, recorders. That technology has improved to the point where wide swatches of radio bandwidth can be recorded and played back later for cryptoanalysis.

While it is unlikely that random citizens are being targeted with this equipment, if you live in a particularly politically significant location, or you attend protest rallies or you belong to a targeted group, you may be recorded.

The NSA has the capability of collecting everything and has a warehouse for this data. At some point everyone will have something recorded there. What should be concerning then, is that if Joe Sixpack at sometime later in his life decides to run for governor, somebody with an axe to grind (and money, political connections or both) can dig up dirt on Joe Sixpack and end his career. We just had that happen here with the new secretary of state. He ****ed off someone, they dug up an old picture and now he is toast.
All 100% true, and the best reason in the world for shunning technology and going back to old school tradecraft.
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Old 01-30-2019, 12:33 PM
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I was talking about something I'd could be taken as controversial on my cell phone last night, we kidded about having 20 black Tahoes pulling up in front of my house this morning. But nothing there when I went to work.

I do have an Amazon Echo on my kitchen counter, great for news, weather and music. For idle talk in the house, I place a pot over it.
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Old 01-30-2019, 01:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Iamfarticus View Post
I was talking about something I'd could be taken as controversial on my cell phone last night, we kidded about having 20 black Tahoes pulling up in front of my house this morning. But nothing there when I went to work.



I do have an Amazon Echo on my kitchen counter, great for news, weather and music. For idle talk in the house, I place a pot over it.
The Amazon Echo has detected you placing a pot over it and has dutifully reported your actions to the NSA as subversive.

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Old 04-10-2019, 10:34 AM
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I know you can split a phone cable and splice that cable with another and connect a phone to that cable and tap it
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Old 04-10-2019, 10:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RFI-EMI-GUY View Post
Bottom line is that if you have any notion that your telephone and internet communications are secure you are naive. Don't even bother with the secure services being offered, they should be seen as suspicious.
I'm not sure why you think I'm naive. Your post is basically a repeat of my post.

.
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Old 04-10-2019, 11:28 PM
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Originally Posted by sarco2000 View Post
I'm not sure why you think I'm naive. Your post is basically a repeat of my post.

.
Reading back, too strong a statement on my part. Sorry.

But being digital or having encryption (as all modern cellular carriers provide) is insufficient. The regular folks can't listen in as you ith scanners correctly point out, but the encryption used is very weak and the systems are also susceptible to man in the middle attacks. Also the transmission between different wireless carriers sites and wireline is not encrypted. So if you carry on any conversation that might AT ANY TIME IN FUTURE be valuable to an adversary, you are doomed. Maybe that is better way to phrase what I said.
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Old 04-11-2019, 12:05 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RFI-EMI-GUY View Post
Reading back, too strong a statement on my part. Sorry.

But being digital or having encryption (as all modern cellular carriers provide) is insufficient. The regular folks can't listen in as you ith scanners correctly point out, but the encryption used is very weak and the systems are also susceptible to man in the middle attacks.
Yup, again that's pretty much exactly what I said:

Quote:
Originally Posted by sarco2000 View Post
they have some basic level of encryption and I'm not sure what type. So regular folks can't spy. I mean you can hear it with a digital scanner but it will be beeps and noises.

Not sure how you would get the equipment to decrypt it, but I'm sure its out there...
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Old 04-11-2019, 12:45 AM
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My brother in law was a high end IT professional for one of the major telecomm companies, he just retired last year. One night we were BSing with a few folks when one of them asked this same question. My BIL just laughs, when asked why he said, "I could listen to any phone I wanted to, no problem whatsoever". He said he did it to prove he could earlier in his career then it just was too boring to do.
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Old 04-11-2019, 01:10 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ZippyTheWonderPig View Post
My brother in law was a high end IT professional for one of the major telecomm companies, he just retired last year. One night we were BSing with a few folks when one of them asked this same question. My BIL just laughs, when asked why he said, "I could listen to any phone I wanted to, no problem whatsoever". He said he did it to prove he could earlier in his career then it just was too boring to do.
Telephone repair technicians are exempted from wire tapping laws when they leigitimately monitor circuits for quality. In the old days when stuff was analog you just jacked in a speaker into a trunk or residential line. If the circuit was analog multiplex going via microwave or coaxial cable, you needed to receive a specific SSB carrier. For this an HP3586A/B test set would tune in the conversation. HP made a more sophisticated version that would scan and could be controlled remotely.

Now with digital there are test sets that can pick out the bits of a particular "circuit". One product is called Wire Shark and it has open source software for a myriad of industry protocols.





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Old 04-14-2019, 01:25 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OKGlocker View Post
My wife and I have noticed the same thing!
And we have tested this theory with small conversations where she and I and the cell phones were the only things present in the room... It's happened WAY TOO MANY times to be coincidence!
Ok, the family jokes about this all the time. It happens all the time.
Once I was talking about a person name in a movie and then I get a wrong number phone call from a person with the same name.
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Old 04-14-2019, 07:39 AM
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Sardog and I used to leave the internet connected on our phone most of the time. Then, we got to noticing if we were watching a movie or TV and discussing something that was on it and start to look up an answer to a question about it on the phone it would give us a link to what we were looking for as soon as we typed in the first letter.

After that we make sure our net is not connected anytime the phone is in the house unless we want to look something up. After that we turn it back off again. We are also a lot more careful about what we discuss if the phone is close to us even if the net is turned off. May be paranoid, but I'd rather be a bit that way than having what we are saying being heard or taped. We also do not have one of those smart TVs that will watch you when you are watching it.

We also do not ever post anything on FB that we would not say anywhere in any public setting.
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Old 04-14-2019, 09:07 PM
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Verizon is planning to discontinue service for some of the older flip phones effective December 31, 2019. Those of us who still use them will need to switch phones by the end of the year or lose our service. I don't know if the newer ones will be easier to trace or tap.
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Old 05-19-2019, 01:16 AM
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Originally Posted by PreppingGal View Post
Verizon is planning to discontinue service for some of the older flip phones effective December 31, 2019. Those of us who still use them will need to switch phones by the end of the year or lose our service. I don't know if the newer ones will be easier to trace or tap.
It might be time to break out the mylar bags on that one.
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Old 05-19-2019, 07:05 PM
Snyper708 Snyper708 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by swamppapa View Post
why do you think anything commercially available would be allowed to work?
The laws of physics apply.

They can say it's illegal to have something, but they can't keep people from making the equipment.

It's "illegal" to have a CB radio that transmits above 4 watts, but cutting and jumping a few wires inside can boost that level 10 times, and only takes a few minutes.
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