In addition, Mobistealth provides additional cell phone surveillance tools to help you track and record all activities on mobile devices of kids and employees.
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Security holes within Signalling System No. Some indications of possible cellphone surveillance occurring may include a mobile phone waking up unexpectedly, using a lot of the CPU when on idle or when not in use, hearing clicking or beeping sounds when conversations are occurring and the circuit board of the phone being warm despite the phone not being used.
Preventive measures against cellphone surveillance include not losing or allowing strangers to use a mobile phone and the utilization of an access password. Another solution is cellphone with physical electric switch, or isolated electronic switch that disconnects microphone, camera without bypass, meaning switch can be operated by user only - no software can connect it back. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Tracking, bugging, monitoring, interception and recording of conversations and text messages on mobile phones. ABC News, News Archived from the original on 24 March Retrieved 26 March The New York Times.
Wall Street Journal. Retrieved What Does That Mean? Slate Magazine. USA today. Cell Phone Spying.
IEEE Spectrum. WTHR News. Honolulu Star-Advertiser. The Intercept. Retrieved 7 June Retrieved 7 June — via The Guardian. Boing Boing. Here's How to Fix It". Retrieved 7 June — via NYTimes. Expectation of privacy Right to privacy Right to be forgotten Post-mortem privacy. Consumer Marital Medical Workplace. At that installation, the devices take in all cell calls in its geographic area and repeat them out to other cell installations which repeat the signals onward to their destination telephone either by radio or landline wires. The two-way duplex phone conversation then exists via these interconnections.
To make all that work correctly, the system allows automatic increases and decreases in transmitter power for the individual cell phone and for the tower repeater, too so that only the minimum transmit power is used to complete and hold the call active, "on", and allows the users to hear and be heard continuously during the conversation. The goal is to hold the call active but use the least amount of transmitting power, mainly to conserve batteries and be efficient. The tower system will sense when a cell phone is not coming in clearly and will order the cell phone to boost transmit power.
The user has no control over this boosting; it may occur for a split second or for the whole conversation. If the user is in a remote location, the power boost may be continuous. In addition to carrying voice or data, the cell phone also transmits data about itself automatically, and that is boosted or not as the system detects need.
Encoding of all transmissions ensures that no cross talk or interference occurs between two nearby cell users. The boosting of power, however, is limited by the design of the devices to a maximum setting. The standard systems are not "high power" and thus can be overpowered by secret systems using much more boosted power that can then take over a user's cell phone. If overpowered that way, a cell phone will not indicate the change due to the secret radio being programmed to hide from normal detection.
The ordinary user can not know if their cell phone is captured via overpowering boosts or not. There are other ways of secret capture that need not overpower, too.
Just as a person shouting drowns out someone whispering, the boost in RF watts of power into the cell telephone system can overtake and control that system—in total or only a few, or even only one, conversation. This strategy requires only more RF power, and thus it is more simple than other types of secret control.
Power boosting equipment can be installed anywhere there can be an antenna, including in a vehicle, perhaps even in a vehicle on the move. Once a secretly boosted system takes control, any manipulation is possible from simple recording of the voice or data to total blocking of all cell phones in the geographic area. A StingRay can be used to identify and track a phone or other compatible cellular data device even while the device is not engaged in a call or accessing data services.
A Stingray closely resembles a portable cellphone tower. Typically, law enforcement officials place the Stingray in their vehicle with a compatible computer software. The Stingray acts as a cellular tower to send out signals to get the specific device to connect to it. Cell phones are programmed to connect with the cellular tower offering the best signal. When the phone and Stingray connect, the computer system determines the strength of the signal and thus the distance to the device.
Then, the vehicle moves to another location and sends out signals until it connects with the phone.
A new tracking and quantification tool for single cells
When the signal strength is determined from enough locations, the computer system centralizes the phone and is able to find it. Cell phones are programmed to constantly search for the strongest signal emitted from cell phone towers in the area. Over the course of the day, most cell phones connect and reconnect to multiple towers in an attempt to connect to the strongest, fastest, or closest signal. Because of the way they are designed, the signals that the Stingray emits are far stronger than those coming from surrounding towers.
For this reason, all cell phones in the vicinity connect to the Stingray regardless of the cell phone owner's knowledge. From there, the stingray is capable of locating the device, interfering with the device, and collecting personal data from the device. The FBI has claimed that when used to identify, locate, or track a cellular device, the StingRay does not collect communications content or forward it to the service provider. On August 21, , Senator Ron Wyden noted that Harris Corporation confirmed that Stingrays disrupt the targeted phone's communications.
By way of software upgrades,   the StingRay and similar Harris products can be used to intercept GSM communications content transmitted over-the-air between a target cellular device and a legitimate service provider cell site. The StingRay does this by way of the following man-in-the-middle attack : 1 simulate a cell site and force a connection from the target device, 2 download the target device's IMSI and other identifying information, 3 conduct "GSM Active Key Extraction"  to obtain the target device's stored encryption key, 4 use the downloaded identifying information to simulate the target device over-the-air, 5 while simulating the target device, establish a connection with a legitimate cell site authorized to provide service to the target device, 6 use the encryption key to authenticate the StingRay to the service provider as being the target device, and 7 forward signals between the target device and the legitimate cell site while decrypting and recording communications content.
A GSM phone encrypts all communications content using an encryption key stored on its SIM card with a copy stored at the service provider. This weaker encryption cypher can be cracked in real-time. A rogue base station can force unencrypted links, if supported by the handset software. In such cases the phone display could indicate the use of an unsafe link - but the user interface software in most phones does not interrogate the handset's radio subsystem for use of this insecure mode nor display any warning indication. By "passive mode," it is meant that the StingRay does not mimic a wireless carrier cell site or communicate directly with cellular devices.
A StingRay and a test phone can be used to conduct base station surveys, which is the process of collecting information on cell sites, including identification numbers, signal strength, and signal coverage areas. When conducting base station surveys, the StingRay mimics a cell phone while passively collecting signals being transmitted by cell-sites in the area of the StingRay.
Base station survey data can be used to further narrow the past locations of a cellular device if used in conjunction with historical cell site location information "HCSLI" obtained from a wireless carrier. HCSLI includes a list of all cell sites and sectors accessed by a cellular device, and the date and time each access was made.
Law enforcement will often obtain HCSLI from wireless carriers in order to determine where a particular cell phone was located in the past. Once this information is obtained, law enforcement will use a map of cell site locations to determine the past geographical locations of the cellular device. However, the signal coverage area of a given cell site may change according to the time of day, weather, and physical obstructions in relation to where a cellular device attempts to access service.
The maps of cell site coverage areas used by law enforcement may also lack precision as a general matter. For these reasons, it is beneficial to use a StingRay and a test phone to map out the precise coverage areas of all cell sites appearing in the HCSLI records. This is typically done at the same time of day and under the same weather conditions that were in effect when the HCSLI was logged. Using a StingRay to conduct base station surveys in this manner allows for mapping out cell site coverage areas that more accurately match the coverage areas that were in effect when the cellular device was used.
The use of the devices has been frequently funded by grants from the Department of Homeland Security. In addition to federal law enforcement, military and intelligence agencies, StingRays have in recent years been purchased by local and state law enforcement agencies. In , Harris Corporation employees directly conducted wireless surveillance using StingRay units on behalf the Palm Bay Police Department — where Harris has a campus  — in response to a bomb threat against a middle school.
The search was conducted without a warrant or Judicial oversight. State police have cell site simulators in Oklahoma, Louisiana, and Pennsylvania, and Delaware. The police use of cell site simulators is unknown in the remaining states. However, many agencies do not disclose their use of StingRay technology, so these statistics are still potentially an under-representation of the actual number of agencies. According to the most recent information published by the American Civil Liberties Union, 72 law enforcement agencies in 24 states own StingRay technology in Since , these numbers have increased from 42 agencies in 17 states .
Several court decisions have been issued on the legality of using a Stingray without a warrant, with some courts ruling a warrant is required    and others not requiring a warrant. They also stated that they intended to make use of such devices in the future.
Two days later, a statement by Edmonton 's police force had been taken as confirming their use of the devices, but they said later that they did not mean to create what they called a miscommunication. Commissioner Bernard Hogan-Howe refused comment. Critics have expressed concern about the export of surveillance technology to countries with poor human rights records and histories of abusing surveillance technology. The increasing use of the devices has largely been kept secret from the court system and the public.
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Local law enforcement and the federal government have resisted judicial requests for information about the use of stingrays, refusing to turn over information or heavily censoring it. In some cases, police have refused to disclose information to the courts citing non-disclosure agreements signed with Harris Corporation. And it certainly should not be concealed from judges.
In Santa Clara County pulled out of contract negotiations with Harris for StingRay units, citing onerous restrictions imposed by Harris on what could be released under public records requests as the reason for exiting negotiations. In recent years, legal scholars, public interest advocates, legislators and several members of the judiciary have strongly criticized the use of this technology by law enforcement agencies.
Critics have called the use of the devices by government agencies warrantless cell phone tracking, as they have frequently been used without informing the court system or obtaining a warrant. In , Professor Laura Moy of the Georgetown University Law Center filed a formal complaint to the FCC regarding the use of the devices by law enforcement agencies, taking the position that because the devices mimic the properties of cell phone towers , the agencies operating them are in violation of FCC regulation, as they lack the appropriate spectrum licenses.
A number of countermeasures to the StingRay and other devices have been developed, for example crypto phones such as GMSK's Cryptophone have firewalls that can identify and thwart the StingRay's actions or alert the user to IMSI capture.