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Ear-to-ear Intimacy with a Shadow
July 27, 2010 15:45

Special programs, potentially dangerous for many mobile phone users, are being sold on the Internet.

These so-called electronic cancer cells are able to secretly function on a victim’s mobile phone, save or translate recordings of conversations, SMS messages, geographic coordinates, and even images taken from the mobile phone – to any location in the world.

Some programs are able to function as a professional “bug”: you call the device, and without the phone owner’s knowledge, hear everything that is happening nearby. They will continue to work even if the SIM card is replaced.

Anyone is able to acquire this secret spying device, because it is sold on the black market and it is very difficult to identify sellers on the Web. Our law directly prohibits illegal use of such equipment. However, most often violators simply incur a fine. Therefore, the benefits from providing such services exceed the price of punishment.

Experts argue that today, users of mobile phones powered by the Symbian and Windows Mobile operating systems are at risk. Spyware also exists for iPhones, but according to specialists, it is still impossible to install it onto a locked phone. It is known that today, “mobile spy” systems and interceptors are being actively developed for the Android and Maemo operating systems, which are becoming increasingly popular.

In addition to spyware, hundreds of offers exist on the Internet to buy special equipment that connects to a mobile phone and makes it possible to hear everything, even if the phone is turned off.

With the emergence of such “goods” on the market, practically no one is safe from the “spy ear.” For a person who is not very well-versed in electronics, it would be difficult to determine that there is a “cavity” in which “a bug” has nested in his cell phone. Here are some of the basic signs that help to indirectly confirm that a mobile phone has been tapped.

First, the battery temperature rapidly increases. This means that it is actively discharging, which is normal when the phone is being used. But if the phone has been silent for a couple of hours, and the battery continues to be noticeably warm – this means that there is something that is happening inside. A spyware program may be working, for example.

Second, the phone starts to discharge rapidly, especially if it was not used for longer than usual. This means that some dangerous embedding has been “planted.” However, remember that with time, batteries do deteriorate and the time they are operational decreases – that is normal. One should raise the alarm if, only a week ago, the phone was working for three days on a single charge, and now the battery life does not last for so much as a day.

Moreover, pay attention to the time delay when shutting the phone off. If this process takes an unusually long time, and is accompanied by flashing lights, or if it’s simply impossible to turn the phone off, then there is clearly something happening to the telephone. These could, of course, be regular technical problems, but other, less-pleasant options are not excluded.

You should also be wary if the phone’s backlight automatically turns on, the power turns off, it reloads, installs or launches programs. It is possible that this is taking place due to a system failure. But this should not be ignored: most likely, an outside ear has connected to your personal life.

One indirect sign indicating that your conversations are being monitored is also static during a call. You should be alerted if hearing echo or any other outside noise – clicking or hissing sound – during your conversation with another subscriber. Sometimes, this noise occurs due to poor reception. But if it is heard continuously, then that is a reason for concern.

Such equipment is often used by special service agents. For example, in the United States, they are able to remotely turn on the microphone even on a phone that has been turned off, and hear everything that is happening at a certain distance from the telephone. This technology of secret audio interception has earned the name of “a wandering bug,” and makes it possible to easily control a mobile phone without having any physical contact with it. But intelligence agencies are only able to use such surveillance techniques after receiving the approval of the court.

     Rossiyskaya Gazeta

Max Yakuba

Tags: Russian Internet Russian mobile operators    

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