Your cell phone can be tapped and that too in such a way that you could never get even the slightest idea that it is happening.
As long as you use the standard cellular network, it is quite convenient to track your phone. A legal wiretap does not require any changes to your phone. You service provider will receive a wiretap warrant, and after that, the rest will be done right through the provider. The specialized hardware and software in the carrier network can monitor your calls. That is why the law enforcement agencies can have easy and legal access to your phone in real-time, and you would not notice a thing.
Some people believe that phone tracking is done by following the person around with antennas and a laptop to create a fake cell phone tower. This alternative method is possible, but it is highly risky and nearly impractical in most cases. With so many phones to intercept, any authority would prefer the cost-effective method of tapping the phone from a central location instead of taking the risk of being seen by following every target.
Telco tapping is the legal way, but cell phones are not always tapped legally. The legal method of tapping phones involves certain risks like the time consumption in going through the process and the information leakage by anyone who is in the premises of the telecom company.
People even use burners that make it hard to figure out which number exactly should be tapped. In such scenarios, the fake antennas, known as ‘stingrays’ are used in a range of a mile or more. The stingrays are not only capable of tapping a single cell phone but also all the people around it. It can take note of phone IDs which can then be followed around if required. This tapping can be performed even if the SIM under use is from a foreign country.
The stingrays are available everywhere, and they are very cheap. A criminal surely does not require a fancy interface, so, even a conventional DVB-T antenna works for them which costs almost $12. It sounds about right for the police to be using them but the same can be done illegally by anyone who wants to take advantage by exploiting your privacy. For instance, a stalker, looking for personal information or a business competitor looking for critical and confidential business data can use these antennas illegally.
Anyone who gets access to your cell phone metadata can clone your phone, intercept your pin codes, steal your phone credit, read your texts and listen to your calls in real-time. The hacker may also spy any authentication system for any service on your phone, pinpoint your location, and track you down.
In most cases, it is impossible to figure out if your cell phone is being tapped. However, the phones from companies like Isher’s Club and Cryptophone are capable of detecting tapping by a fake antenna. The sad part is that even these phones do not provide any security encryption; they can only inform you if you are being tapped.
Nonetheless, you are advised not to get worried thinking that the police will tap your phone and listen to your personal conversations. There is a very little chance that anyone could be remotely interested in people’s personal conversations, especially the police. Unless of course, you are a criminal or a terrorist, then you need to be anxious, and we are glad that you are being tapped.
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