Mobile Communication Security
Every day there is some new information on how security services or competitors are spying and listening to citizens almost all over the world. There are even scandals related to such events. The new facts open inside mechanisms and details of the spying process. It may seem to be something really distanced and not connected with us. But still…
If you are a citizen not related to politics or business, you have almost no chance to come in sight of such organizations because it is technically complicated and pretty expensive. There is very nasty feeling to understand that somebody can interfere in your private life at any moment.
Lots of people, even if they are not potential targets, try to minimize risk of being looked after and protect their personal information. In this article we want to focus on the most popular methods of mobile communication which are under the threat of interference. Also we would like to give some tips that may help you to keep your communication confidentiality.
Usually people use the easiest way and just change their SIM card. The only thing it will influence - calls won't be showed in the calls’ detalization for contract phones. The point is that it is IMEI, not SIM card that is tracked. The IMEI (International Mobile Station Equipment Identity) is a number, usually unique, to identify mobile phones, as well as some satellite phones.
The only efficient way to avoid the phone tapping at least for some time is to hide or to modify this unique number. It can be done with the help of special equipment which is used for a cell phone operating system repair. One should take into consideration that in some countries this procedure is illegal. Such operations often are carried out by local technicians without the relevant authorities’ approval.
If you need to conduct private talks regularly, there is another option, which is often used by businessmen: use several mobile phones simultaneously - "normal" one and "secret" one for special occasions. If your conversations are being monitored at a serious level this method is inefficient because the location of all your phones is always known and they are monitored automatically.
If you want to have a really "secret" phone that will be difficult to detect you can use the following advice: never use both phones in the same time. Keep the "secret" phone turned off and separately from the "normal” one. When you need to make a call from your "secret" phone you have to leave the other phone somewhere or shut it off (get the battery out). Take the sufficient distance from the ordinary phone, then make a call. When the conversation is over turn off your "secret" phone and get out the battery. Only after these manipulations you can turn on your "normal" cell phone.
Modern technical equipment can identify the phone’s location even if it is switched off. Therefore it is recommended to remove the battery and turn off the device. You need to take into account that many modern smartphones have an additional system battery. For this reason we recommend to leave the “normal” phone far from the secret call place.
The data sent via the Internet are being monitored at the similar way. The security services can view the messages sent via different messengers. The world leader in the data analysis and processing systems development for security services is the American company Palantir Technologies. For instance, data transmitted via What's App are not encrypted at all. Messages sent via Skype, MSN, Gmail, ICQ are encoded but the security services have access to the decryption codes. Viber and BlackBerry Messengers are considered to be the most secure messengers. They have autonomous systems for data coding and these companies do not disclose the decryption codes.
Since this article is only about cell phones we leave aside the various file exchange services, so called "cloud" services, such as Dropbox, Wuala, Apple iCloud, Microsoft SkyDrive, Yandex.Disk, Google Drive, Amazon Cloud Drive and others. The security services monitor the information stored in cloud services as well, that can be proved by the example of Lavabit service. This service was closed after the sensational statement of the former CIA employee Edward Snowden. It looks like he used this mail service.
Summing up everything mentioned above we can say that modern technical equipment provides opportunity to monitor almost all private conversations if it is necessary. Even in the most democratic and civilized countries telephone calls are monitored in some cases. So be careful! Big brother is watching you!