I'm not a cell geek so to speak but I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night ... seriously, I'm not a geek, just a news junkie with an avionics background including EW & ECM and experience in corporate security. I've heard quite a bit about this stuff for the past 18 months or so and let me assure you, anyone with a cell phone, tenth generation or later pager or any "comm" pager can be easily spied on and not even know it.
This is not "new" spy technology, it's been around since the second generation digital phones but they've been constantly improving it across the spectrum of digital devices including your home/laptop computers. Now, anyone with an internet connection can connect with almost any communication device at any time including when the phone/pager itself is turned "off".
You don't need physical access to the actual device to install the software, all you need to know is the phone number of a cell phone or pager and in the case of a computer the IP address; yes there is software that allows for scanning IP addresses from wired and wireless internet connections.
The software is installed the same way the cell phone company does it by opening a line of communication with the phone via the phone number. It comes into the phone just like the date, time voice mail indication and so forth - you do not need to be subscribing to internet service or anything else in order to be hacked. In the case of the computer, the software comes in as a data packet; there are numerous method used with computers to defeat the anti-spyware programs but normally it's designed to look like a standard data pack used by the internet connection.
There are anti-virus & anti-spyware programs you can buy for your cell phone, most are quite pricy in the $150-$250 range. There is no software protection available for lesser devices like pagers but the amount of spying that can be done via pager is limited by the type of pager. V-comm or ICN (Internal Communications Network) are nothing more than limited access cell phones and can be spied on as easily as any standard cell phone. Normally V-comm & ICN are the devices you find being used in manufacturing plants, large office buildings, hospitals, ect.
The only protection that has been proven 99% effective is the use of anti-spy hardware because every active & passive electronic type shielding has been compromised. This started back in the 50's when the microwave was used to pick-up on the vibrations of window glass and the corresponding distance changes between the glass and receiving antenna were capable of being converted into audio - if you see any of the old spy movies, you'll sometimes note what looks like a pipe sticking down on the inside of a window, these contained a small speaker or literally "piped-in" music to cause the glass to vibrate stronger from the music than it would from the normal voice vibrations in the room so as to defeat the microwave and later IR/Laser audio spy equipment ... which in turn resulted in the use of penetrating carrier beams that once again allowed for reliable listening.
In the more modern times, I'm sure you've heard about cell phone/wi-fi signal blocking paint/window coatings. This worked for a short time until someone figured out that these items can easily be defeated by penetrating them with a carrier signal beam; the same as was done with audio spy equipment.
Corporate security is a big deal and you would be amazed at the amount of work hardware that is required to make just one meeting room spy-resistant. Yes, I said, "resistant" because at some point there's going to be some geek who figures out a way to defeat your security shield. Anyone who is serious about corporate security must have layered protection; example is one place I did some work for, they had the window coatings, paint and secure encoders on their telecommunications lines but forgot about the weakest link in the chain which is their employees. A single employee, common office worker no one paid any attention to was easily bought by the competition and she was able to install two simple eyes & ears devices in less than a minute and without anyone noticing for more than a year. Had properly layered hardware protection been employed, that incident would have been completely prevented.
« Back to index