Privacy - here's one for you: "High Tech Mystery Theatre..."

Discussion in 'privacy general' started by SG1, Aug 5, 2003.

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  1. SG1

    SG1 Registered Member

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    Guy at work asked me about this tonight, and
    there wasn't much I could personally tell him...
    His girlfriend uses her cell phone, & then later
    someone calls her and repeats parts of her discussions
    she'd had earlier on her cell phone. The guy I work
    with wondered if this could somehow be done using a PC and I assume he asked that, perhaps because his girlfriend has a PC at home, or maybe he wondered if a PC hacker bad guy type could use a PC & somehow "capture" the lady's conversation.

    Well, so... without using a PC:

    a) one can have a mike that can record from some distance away, I think (or at least in the movies, it looks cool).
    b) if someone knows enough about phone line equip., I guess you could pretty well do what you want in that
    department, so to speak.
    c) someone actually bugged the lady's place
    d) someone close enough by, can actually hear her cell
    phone conversations and then calls her to repeat them
    back to her
    e) IF she has a PC, and perhaps with webcam setup, I think I read that the cam and or mike can be used against you by crafty type/s.
    f) I think there's cameras/mikes, advertised as being for "security" that one can watch over the web - like a camera at your business or home, when you're away and so forth. I am sure that IF those units are small enough, or really well concealed and depending on how it is hooked up, it could be used against one.
       
    I'd read in a 'puter mag about people in same apt. bldg. using varied wireless devices, and picking up info from others - having to do with wireless signals or however that works.
    I had also read that, for instance, in order to "break into" cell phone transmissions and steal data it takes fairly sophisticated equip. that most folks
    don't have lying about.
       Soooooooooo - what do I tell this guy at work? Does his girlfriend have to worry about a possible in home PC "run amok" like a FOX reality show, or... what would you say may be involved here?
    I'm guessing it has nothing to do with PCs, but
    if someone is calling her back, repeating her cell phone
    conversations... that is creepy/slimy, at the very least.

    Thanks, for your thoughts on this. SG1 (Pat)
     
  2. LowWaterMark

    LowWaterMark Administrator

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    My rule of thumb when trying to figure stuff like this out is to put your money on the simpler possibilities rather than the real sophisticated ones. They are far more likely in the real world.

    Being PC related is unlikely. Yes, there are people running around saying that the option in Flash to access your PC's MIC could, under certain rare conditions, be used to spy on you. However, no one has ever pointed to a real world occurrence of this. Besides, most people have a real difficult time getting any kind of good sound quality or simply enough volume out of their PC MICs without actually working hard at it to make them work right. What are the chances she was close enough to the MIC for much of a cell phone call?

    The most likely guesses on my part are: simplest - it was over heard with just human ears. (We don't know anything about where this occurred or any other conditions - just that she used her cell-phone.) More technical, but not difficult or that unlikely... Was the cell phone in analog mode? A lot of times older phones or older cell systems use analog, not digital communication modes. Heck, even my state of the art phone drops to analog mode depending upon conditions. And analog mode is just radio. Some analog channels can be over heard with somewhat common forms of radio equipment (scanners, ham radio setups, etc.)

    In my opinion, without more facts, those are the likely options. A monitoring 'bug' where ever she was? Possible. Does she have a stalker or nosey neighbors? Those super pickup MICs like in the movies? Very doubtful. Other real high-tech spying equipment? Who is she, one of the Bush' daughters? Why would anybody use such equipment on her?

    Go with the simple ideas first and ask questions. What's the layout of the place and proximity of neighbors, etc? What type of cell-phone and what mode was it in? Do they have weird friends that like to play jokes on them?
     
  3. spy1

    spy1 Registered Member

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    The easiest thing to do might be to type "Cell-phone snooping" (without the quotes, of course) into your Google search field. Lots of stuff there. Pete

    *Good article about cell-phone vulnerabilites here: http://www.simson.net/ref/security_cellphones.htm and probably more than you wanted to know about everything here: http://info.aanekoski.fi/~mpe/suojaus/intercept.html
     
  4. Detox

    Detox Retired Moderator

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    I even knew someone in high school who happened to have a cordless phone that was the same frequency (by coincidence) as the neighbors and he could easily listen to them when they were using theirs; but they could also hear him if he said anything. Iknow that's cordless and not cell; but strange stuff like that can happen.
     
  5. the Tester

    the Tester Registered Member

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    Regarding LWM's mention of radio scanners....

    There are some older scanner radio models that can monitor cell-phone frequencies.
    At some point in time this became a problem and laws were passed banning the scanning of cell phone frequencies in the U.S.
    Scanners manufactured after a certain date will not scan cell phone frequencies because of a "block" in the scanners themselves.
    But the older models are still around(although somewhat rare) if an individual looks for them and is willing to invade someone's privacy. :mad:
    It's possible someone living nearby has that type of scanner and recognised the voice?
     
  6. LowWaterMark

    LowWaterMark Administrator

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    Yes, very concerning stuff Tester. Actually, one person I knew was heavily into Ham radio and he knew all about radio repeater towers and how they worked, and he told me how you could access all kinds of communications through them. This was back a few years before there was very much digital radio communcations, so I have no idea what they can and can not do today. :doubt:
     
  7. the Tester

    the Tester Registered Member

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    LWM.

    I agree.
    I think it depends on the individual too.
    How much advanced knowledge they have.
    What they do with that ability.

    Sure makes a guy think!

    I'd be a little "freaked out" if I got a call like the one in the first post!
     
  8. DolfTraanberg

    DolfTraanberg Registered Member

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    So freedom of speech is different from freedom to listen o_O
    Dolf
     
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