phone privacy

What Information Can be Found With a Phone Number

When you consider connecting the dots to create a picture, imagine your phone number as the dot that connects everything else they know about you.  Even if they have it all, it is up to you whether or not they have the dot with your phone number to complete the picture.phone hacker

All it takes to find everything is to just find that phone number connected to one of the many things we already know like your facebook account (which requires a phone number) or any shopping card from a corporate retailer you may have given your number to.  Do you still believe those corporations don’t sell or trade your private information?  Well even if you do, it doesn’t matter because they are all systematically hacked a bare minimum of every 3-5 years.

Any email you get for free is being picked off as we speak.  It doesn’t matter if you gave the provider any phone information or not.  All you have to do is reveal your phone number in the text of an email and boom!! Mission accomplished!!  Free emails mine everything that comes across your screen, including drafts.  Why do you think they always want you to “secure” your email account with a phone number?

If you have connected to an old friend or new business acquaintance by email or social media and given them your phone number in a message it is connecting you to that phone number and that media account.

It’s called the world wide WEB for a reason.  Everything you do is sucked into a giant computer and maintained for profit and micromanagement of the public.  A good researcher can take an unknown phone number and use cell towers to “pair” it with other devices already known to be in your name.  For example: a burner phone (see our article on burner phones https://privacyliving.com/2016/05/17/what-is-a-burner-phone-how-can-it-help-me/ ) can have its owner pegged pretty efficiently when it is continually detected near the same owner’s normal cell phone or other smart device.  This can include cars with smart devices embedded in them.  By detecting an unknown phone continually traveling to the same places and staying at the same address all night along with already known devices it is easy to deduce that you are the owner.

As you can see, being truly anonymous requires some serious work but it is possible.  You can always pick up a copy of “Disappear in 24 Hours” by Lonn E Wolfenstein if you want to do a total makeover.  The book is available at Brave New Books in Austin TX or can be ordered by clicking the products link at the top of this page.

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How Safe are your Wi-Fi Connections and Apps?

When you have your cell phone or other smart device with you the NSA is watching.  We all know that but sometimes we need to be reminded.  Keep in mind that there are no known exceptions to this rule.  If there was one I would be skeptical, but if you have to have a phone, why not get the most secure phone possible?

After reading and hearing all of the negatives posted about the Black Phone from Silent Circle I am still a supporter.  I think many of the negative reports are coming from competitors and sold out individuals who care more about the quality of their “selfies” than they do about being watched by data mining corporations and foreign governments.wi-fi-privacy

I will concede that the Black Phone is not exactly what I would build.  For example: I don’t think a camera belongs on a phone at all, unless it is self-contained in its own compartment with zero internet capability. However, I commend Silent Circle for their innovation in the areas of Wi-Fi and App security.blackphone-privacy-cell

Wi-Fi Connections

The Black Phone has the capability of automatically shutting off Wi-Fi when you leave the range of your current connection.  This is a no nonsense security measure but it doesn’t serve corporate greed.  On most phones, when you leave your current Wi-Fi network, your phone will continue to search for another.  This is dangerous.  Even if you don’t like the Black Phone please keep your phone on Airplane mode if you are not using it in a secure area of your choosing.

Apps

When you sign up for most apps, there is a multi-page agreement that nobody wants to read.  Within that agreement you give up your privacy, but most people do it because they want the app.  With the Black Phone there is a way to get many apps without giving the corporate bullies access to your camera and contacts list.

I realize this seems like a commercial but I am not being paid by Silent Circle.  It just seems like a decent product they are producing here in a world that knows nothing but theft and fleecing of consumers.  Below I have an interview from 2014 about the qualities of the Black Phone.  There is now a Black Phone 2 with even more features and sells for just under $600.

Check it out if you wish to boost privacy, but keep in mind you are never 100% safe on a phone.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dbtSNAD4JJY

 

Net 10 Wireless Burner Phone Review

I am in the process of experimenting and reviewing the different phone services available that can be used for burner phones.  Over the next few months I hope to bring you the inside story on all the phones that I personally experiment with and use in the privacy field when it really matters.  Today I’m sharing my experience with Net 10 Wireless. ..net 10 wireless phone burner

If you have any questions about the frame work and necessities of a burner phone I recommend you read the blog I wrote called “What is a Burner Phone? How Can it Help Me?” https://privacyliving.com/2016/05/17/what-is-a-burner-phone-how-can-it-help-me/

I initially spent around $70 at a dollar store buying a ZTE smart phone and a Net 10 phone card that would give me 1000 minutes.  (I like the ZTE because to me it seems easy to navigate and the price is usually reasonable on the ones with the small screen.  I just hate spending a lot of money on a phone that I know is going to end up in the bottom of a swamp soon.)  However, this is strike one for Net 10 because it turns out that the 1000 minute phone card was not “compatible”.

How Did I Figure Out Compatibility?

Here comes strike 2.  The way you activate the Net 10 plan is by either logging into a website or entering a code on the back of the phone card or by calling a 1-800 number and doing the same.  The problem is the phone is not active when you get it.  So you have to either use a separate computer or phone to activate the account.  Since I think Waffle House is the last place on the planet that actually has payphones in its parking lot anymore, and I was nowhere near a Waffle House, I had to use the laptop computer of a trusted source in order to attempt to activate the account.  That unfortunately created a link between my friend and my burner phone.  This is no good.  All Net 10 Wireless would have to do is create 611 access on all of their phones prior to activation and this way a new purchaser could use the actual burner phone to activate that specific phone without establishing a trail.

I then had to use one of my old burner phones to make contact with customer service and find out why my phone card was not compatible. (Yet, another trail leading to a phone that may or may not be mine. Not good)  As it turns out, they don’t do a minute plan for smart phones and I was required to buy another unlimited phone card for $50 more.  Then I was able to return to another computer (another trail) and activate my phone.

The next problem came when my internet service was not working at all.  This forced me to call 611 and speak to customer service. (This of course leaves an opportunity for someone to trace my voice).  Customer service at Net 10 Wireless was excellent and I give them a good grade for their technical support.  The only problem is that this again, was not necessary and my internet should have been active from the day I activated the phone.  If I had been in a jam I wouldn’t have had the time to sort this out and it could have ruined an entire operation.

There is one last problem.  I was smart enough to make the call from a very busy intersection next to an interstate highway and another major highway but for some reason they needed my address to remotely work on the phone.  I didn’t find it suspicious at the time because this is just an experiment.  But how scared I would have been if I was in the middle of something big and I had to risk my safety so that my internet could be repaired.

Some of the issues I had could have been prevented and If I were to start over right now, I believe I could get the same phone to be anonymous but it would still require some creativity.  Just remember that with Net 10 you can use a friend’s computer or phone to activate it and as long as that friend doesn’t crack under interrogation, then you have a good anonymous burner phone.  If you don’t think that is possible then maybe Net 10 is not for you.  As far as using the web, I can’t say if that was business as usual for them or if you won’t have any problems.

I give Net 10 Wireless a grade of C+ because even in the conditions I described here, it will still shield you from most trouble.  There are a few things they could do better but I am glad there are companies out there like Net 10 that don’t involve giving a name and address.

Billboards Are Watching You!

“Pass a billboard while driving in the next few months, and there is a good chance the company that owns it will know you were there and what you did afterward.

Clear Channel Outdoor Americas, which has tens of thousands of billboards across the United States, will announce on Monday that it has partnered with several companies, including AT&T, to track people’s travel patterns and behaviors through their mobile phones.”

Read more about the frightening future of spying that AT&T, Clear Channel, PlaceIQ and Placed have in store for you: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/02/29/business/media/see-that-billboard-it-may-see-you-too.html?_r=1billboard spying

 

Will an Apple Insider Help the Government Crack Encryption?

The big news right now is the buzz around Apple being ordered by a judge to help the government break into an Apple phone belonging to a terror suspect.  This is not a new battle.  What many stories will leave off is that this battle has been going on between the federal government and Apple for years now.  The government was furious when the “unbreakable” encryption came out and has been trying to get Apple to give them a back door ever since.  To put it in no uncertain terms, the government wants an access point to spy on anybody who has an Apple device if the government finds the need to spy on that person.

cell phone hack

So far Apple has held its ground but don’t be so sure.  They could fold at any time but they are in a very precarious position.  On one hand Apple has the chance to follow the court order and assist in the break in of a terrorist’s phone which would be a great thing……But at what cost?  Personal privacy is on the line here.  Once law enforcement gets that encryption for the one phone do you really think it will stop there?  It will not.  Once this phone belonging to the terrorist is broken into, the encryption that millions have relied upon to keep their personal data safe will be toast!  This will first start being used in some other high profile cases that look good to the public.  Perhaps a murder, or a violent robbery will get solved.  Then the hack will find its way into local police stations around the country.

Somewhere along the way thieves and criminals will start stealing data and bank information from unsuspecting victims.  Keep in mind that the victims are part of the 90% idiots in the world that probably don’t even know this story exists and probably wouldn’t believe it if you told them.  These poor fools are going to have their bank accounts looted and their identities stolen by hackers and then it’s all going to be used to pay for more global terrorism.  This is why the phone situation should be left alone.

As always, I want to give you the best piece of advice I can offer:  Don’t do anything on an electronic device that you wouldn’t want to explain on national television or to a jury.  Apple may cave and give it all up.  This may hurt their street cred but with the right amount of pressure from the government they will drop the dime.  They may also try to save face and send the government a helper that has recently “resigned” from the company.  NEVER EVER EVER PUT YOUR FAITH IN THE SECURITY OF AN ELECTRONIC DEVICE.  You will be disappointed.

Does ISIS Have a Stingray?

Recently I was contemplating the threat level of the international terror group known by most people as ISIS and by patronizing politicians as ISIL and the Junior Varsity.  The group, whatever the name, has risen from suppression to the most well funded terror organization in the world and continues to conquer land in the Middle East killing everyone in their way or with dissenting beliefs.  They are funded the typical way any mob organization would be, but just imagine the mafia on steroids.  If there is a revenue stream they take it.  From stolen oil being sold under the table to toll roads all over their conquered territory to illegitimate tax collections, this organization is well organized and gaining momentum.
Now, you may be asking “who cares?  It’s the Middle East!”  The only problem here is that t ISIS has its sites set on America.  Many young men and women in the united states have fallen prey to the glamorous forecast offered by ISIS and are joining in droves.  Whether contrived or grass roots this movement has become a real threat to national security and now they have already struck in Texas and are planning to strike more targets.
stingray
When a well funded group with ill will and operatives inside America begin working against us the threat level is the sky.  This is where the question in the title comes along.  Does ISIS have a Stingray?  “What is a Stingray?” you ask.  There is plenty of documentation about it but in short, a “Stingray” is the brand name for the most popular of the spying devices that can jam radio and phone signals, check phone data, and identify people by mimicking their phone signals as well as listening to phone calls indiscriminately.  If it sounds familiar you may remember that police and sheriffs around the country have been buying and using them secretly against their own citizens.  Recently we even blogged about airplanes equipped with the item to fly over you and pick you out of a crowd by mimicking your cell phone signal.
(One quick tip about a stingray type device:  It can strengthen your phone signal, so if you find yourself in a known dead zone and your phone signal is working great, you may be under attack by a device.)
So, how much does it cost?  The price starts around half a million dollars and goes up as you add accessories.  Do you really think the best funded terror organization in the world can’t afford a $500,000 item?  This is the concern I have always had.  I know most of the time these guys trying to fight crime won’t misuse the item, but the product is available to criminal organizations as well.  Even if they are made illegal well funded terror groups can still get them.  Never under estimate the power of these evil organizations.  Never trust your cell phone.  I believe wholeheartedly that ISIS has a Stingray or at least something similar to it.  There is no need for them to have anything generic.  They can afford the best equipment to bring you down.  Don’t be a victim!
sting ray in action

Do You Know Where You Are?….Your Phone Does!

This morning I was awakened earlier than I prefer (11:00 am) by my phone sounding off with an “End of The World” alarm.  NO, I didn’t set the alarm.  It was an Amber Alert.  I didn’t sign up for Amber Alerts.  Not that I don’t care about kids being snatched out of their yard.  It is just that most of these Amber Alerts turn out to be nothing more than custody battles between wife and estranged husband.  So I don’t sign up for Amber Alerts.
cell phone hack
That all doesn’t matter because the nanny state has apparently signed me up against my will.  They also have signed me up for weather alerts.  Recently the same Amber Alert sound went off on my phone to let me know there is flooding in the area.  All I can say is “Thanks”.  I guess they haven’t figured out a way to determine that I had just finished moving my animals up the hill to keep them out of the flood water that had already come.  It’s good to know the nanny messenger is not communicating with the people who are watching me from the air.  This was in an area not known for good phone service either but luckily they got the warning to me. I can’t imagine what humans have done about bad weather for the past 6000 years.

The point here is simple.  Even if your phone is off, you are being tracked.  Take your battery out at the very least (unless you have an apple).  You need to buy a shield of some sort to put your phone in and keep it from being tracked.  Things only get worse from here.

Phone Burning

Is your phone burned?  By that I mean is your phone number attached to anything else?  Today I burned my phone because I was running a classified ad for an item in which my email and phone number were required.  It doesn’t matter to me because I can just recycle the number once I’m done selling the item but I hope you are all aware that if your pone number and an email or another phone number that is yours or a friend or family member cross paths you are burned.  All the privacy precautions you have worked for go right out the window when you allow a corporation, an acquaintance  or a website to get 2 forms of persona information from you.
evidence burner phone
In my case the site already had my email address and name but before I could run the ad they wanted to verify my phone number.  Now they have a cross reference.  Tracking somebody is all about connecting the dots.  Some times you can have a huge amount of information about somebody and all you need is that one final piece of the puzzle.  I would like to think that these web sites and corporations are only using this information for the single transaction in which a person is required to give personal information but we all know better than that.
Data mining is just what it says: mining, except it’s easier than other mining.  In the past you had to get a mule, some dynamite and a pic axe then head to the mountains and live without a woman unless you strike it rich after breaking several limbs and losing all but 3 of your teeth.  With data mining these guys just sit at a desk from 9 to 5 and take anything you give them and then sell it.  Your information is just like gold because your private information contains the clues to your hopes dreams and fears.  This information can be sold to advertisers or adversaries and you don’t get to pick.
data mining santa
Hopefully these are things you already know and this is just a reminder but I run into people every single day that blow my mind with their ignorance of data predators.  These people can kill you as well, so if you are stupid with your information count your lucky stars if you live through it.  I won’t give anybody any ideas about why an identity spy would kill you.