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Are Your Cell Phone Communications Safe?

By Brad Robinson, Private Investigator

Brad RobinsonWe are often asked by our clients who are in the midst of a messy divorce, a contentious child custody battle or a serious stalker situation, “Can he/she be intercepting my cellphone communications?” In almost all cases, the short answer is, “Yes.”

Cell phone “spyware”

Today, it’s not just those 3-letter spy agencies who may be listening in to our most private exchanges. Surprisingly sophisticated and inexpensive cellphone “spyware” can be found and purchased online by anyone. The better versions enable an unauthorized eavesdropper to remotely capture copies of your call log, address book, text messages, photos and more (bank account PIN, anyone?). In some of the more elaborate versions, your actual phone conversations can be overheard in real time! It’s a frightening prospect but there are steps you can take to counter this threat.

One time access to a “Smartphone”

Most at risk are the now ubiquitous Smartphones. These handy devices are, in essence, tiny, portable computers with zero anti-virus software. As such, they are quite vulnerable to all manner of viruses, malware, spyware, Trojans, etc. In most instances, the “bugger” will secretly download the software onto your phone manually, if he has just a few minutes alone with your device. At that point, the target phone can be programmed to report automatically to a second phone. In other words, he/she never has to gain physical access to your phone again.

Attachments that attack

Even more disturbing is the fact that your Smartphone can also be attacked externally. For example, every time you are encouraged to download an attachment onto your phone, covert spyware can be lingering in the background of that attachment.

You could never be tricked into downloading something sketchy, right? How about a birthday card, Happy Hour e-vite or “you gotta check out the funniest video clip ever!”? You see the promised card, clip, etc., so you don’t think anything of it. But it’s the invisible attachment to that attachment that just infected your i-Phone, Android or Blackberry.

In addition, each of those super cool applications that you happily download (seriously, do you really need that new FindMeTheNearestBagel app?) represents another opportunity for someone to backdoor something sinister onto your phone (and they couldn’t have done it without YOUR help).

 It’s smarter not to have a “Smartphone”

Non-Smartphones are less vulnerable. Because it doesn’t have Internet capability, your old-school flip phone is a harder target. However, there are tools (SIM card readers, etc.) for attacking these phones as well. But now the bad guy must get physical access to your phone to do his dirty work. Furthermore, this will get him only historical (not real-time) data from your phone and once he downloads those details, he would need to get back into your phone to gather further info.

Pay-as-you-go is the smartest

Most secure would be a pay-as-you-go, non-Smartphone (i.e., burner phone). If purchased in person (e.g., Walmart’s TracFone), paid for in cash (original and follow-on minutes should also be paid for in cash) and registered with alias name, address, etc., these phones are all but untraceable. Because no call records are kept, even by the provider, on these low-end devices, no one can ever get a copy of your monthly statement (there is none) even if their brother works at the phone company.

Protect your new number

Treat your new phone number as “sensitive” and only give it out to trusted persons. Also, use the password access (I know it’s a hassle) and keep your phone close to you at all times and your secret communications might remain your secret.

Brad Robinson is an ex-CIA operative and currently Senior Partner with The Millennium Group, a full-service investigative and security consulting firm staffed by former federal agents. They offer a variety of romance fraud-related investigations nationwide including debugging “sweeps” of residences, offices, vehicles and phones. Visit their website at MillenniumGroup2001.com or call them at 855-SPY-TEAM.



28 Comments on "Are Your Cell Phone Communications Safe?"

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  1. elizabethbrooks says:

    One other point, do not forget your online cell phone account. If your ex paid the bills, etc. he/she could easily have set up your online account, and be monitoring your every call and text. Be sure to set up your own account! If you are unable to log in to it, immediately get on the phone with the cell co., your ex may have your acct set up.

    Also, some cell companies (maybe all) have the option of adding GPS locating to your phones. I’ve heard it’s only $10 a month with Verizon to add this feature. If your ex has your acct online, they could easily add this.



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  2. aintgonnatakeitnomore says:

    i have been using pay as you go phns, and i refuse to give my name when they activate it, for last 5 yrs. glad to know there is no call record. is there no text record either? id love to know this. i cant imagine having a phn that is: HERE I AM, where i live–come rob or rape me and my kids. im just not cool enough to need to tell everyone i am eating a bagel at brueggers with betty-lou either.
    and having the cheapo phn also allows me to drop it in the nearest garbage if i feel i need to and getting another cheapo non-traceable phn. which the ex has never touched for sure.



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  3. SocioSugar says:

    I agree going to your cell provider is the best way to know your phone is cleared of any spyware or whatever. Geez if sociopaths put in as much time in something with a good cause – and not dedicating their life to make sure ours are miserable. Think of things they could do. But a sociopath doesn’t know how to be good. They will never learn. They don’t want to. It irritates me how much of my life is consumed and wasted because the sociopath is constantly up to trickery and deception. I’m so freaking sick of it. I’m so sick of feeling paranoid and worried and stressed. But like the sociopath can’t stop doing vindictive and malicious and hateful things. I can’t stop worrying about what will be done next to hurt me and my family…



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    • HopingToHeal says:

      SocioSugar,

      I so agree with you. It stinks to have someone play games with you constantly! My attorney hit home with me when he told me “You may divorce him, but you will never be rid of him”. The thought of it makes me ill. NC helps, but how do you ever find peace from the constant monitoring?



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  4. hgg522 says:

    This article really touches home for me. a few years ago, I noticed my phone would make “noises” when I was on a conversation such as clicking noises and static. Then I would notice my phone would light up even when I was not using it. This alerted me that there was a possibility that someone was accessing my “speaker: and listening to my conversations even when I was at home. What was the “breaker” was when my phone battery was hot even after being unused for hours. I knew the that my ex-s/p had bugged my phone. I purchased an application called ‘bulldog” that can detect viruses. Once I applied the app to my phone and administered it, there were several viruses detected. This confirmed my phone had been bugged. My daughter also had a “blue tooth” application added to her phone without any awareness in which my ex-s/p was able to access it and listen in on her from anywhere. He also told her he knows everywhere she is and can track her. What I have learned from these deranged individuals is that they are so proud of their devious accomplishments and they cannot contain themselves. They will tell on themselves eventually…you just have to have the savvy to LISTEN. They are definitely the epitome of “mind rape” at its best and when you try to explain it to people, they just can not wrap their heads around it. It is evil beyond an reasonable explanation because people do not want to believe such evil exists. But it does. Just read the bible…Evil is rampant in both the old and new testament. Where is God? He is everywhere and has already warned us that the prince of this earth is the devil and encourages us not to seek our treasures here on earth, but to seek Him. Where our heart is, there our treasure is also…doesn’t make it any easier but this is not the end of our story. We have to believe that these s/p individuals will go to every extent possible to break us. That is why the bible teaches us to be wise as a serpent and calm as a dove. They are looking for a reaction and we are NOT to give them what they want. I have a smart phone now and I am very careful what I discuss when on the phone. y ex’s wife even went so far as to follow my attorney to another country, most likely to bribe him. Whether he took it or not is still a mystery. He I going on vacation for a month, which seems to be the norm for those that have been bribed by my ex. Two evaluators took the same “hiatus” and it has me wondering…



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  5. heart1 says:

    How is it possible to have cellphone remotely hacked. It happened to me. The background echo a little static. I knew of the signs. I called my freind back again standing in the same place in the house, no electricals on. And again the same odd noise. I asked my friend is there any background noise,etc she says no. I told her my phone is not right. Hang on there while I say something, Then I shouted, I know my phone is being tapped. I hung up. Dialed again 30secs later and it was gone. I explained it to my friend, embarrasingly. But what its stranger than fiction is how people access outside your home and remotely? And why?



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  6. lynno says:

    Is the clicking sound heard from the other end as well as your own? I know my Narc husband tried to remove my hard drive from my macbook so I suspect something is up with my new smartphone. Friends tell me there is a clicking noise on my phone that they never hear on other phones.
    Is this a sign that he hacked into my phone?



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  7. Brad says:

    It could be. Some of today’s more sophisticated eavesdropping systems can be set to signal a second phone (the eavesdropper’s) when the target phone has an incoming/outgoing call. This allows him the option of listening in to your call “real-time”. The clicking you hear could be him coming onto the line (joining the call, so to speak) after having been alerted that you are on a new call. Best to ditch that phone or simply limit your conversations to non-sensitive topics that would not be harmful to you in the event that someone IS listening in. Of course, you could also go on the offensive and have the bad guy running around town trying to follow up on the fake “leads” that you feed him. For example, “I am so excited about my date with Carlos at the zoo on Saturday!” Spies call this “disinformation”.



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  8. Jan7 says:

    KeepingOn, here is another article for you to read.



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