NSA Tracks Turned-Off Phones — But Phone Makers Don’t Know How
2013 11 14

Red Ice Creations



NSA says they can track cellphones even when turned off, while the cellphone manufacturers insist that’s not possible - sort of.

The denials coming from companies such as Samsung, Google, and Nokia are nuanced and evasive, and suggest that tracking their phones while ’off’ might be doable with the right spyware. Not a problem for the infamous NSA!

In the end, it’s recommended that if you don’t want your phone tracked while ’off’, either remove the battery, or wrap the phone in tinfoil to act as a Faraday cage. This is something German businessmen have been savvy to since 2011. Too bad Angela Merkel didn’t get the memo...

More on this from Tom’s Guide:

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NSA Tracks Turned-Off Phones — But Phone Makers Don’t Know How
By Jill Scharr | Tom’sGuide

Tracking a cellphone is easy, especially for the National Security Agency. But can you track a cellphone that’s been turned off?

It sounds impossible, but the NSA apparently has been able to track powered-down mobile phones since 2004, as reported by The Washington Post in July 2013.

The Post’s mention of this ability was brief. It was buried within a longer narrative regarding the NSA’s partnership with the U.S. military’s Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) to track and kill high-profile al-Qaida targets in Iraq:

"By September 2004, a new NSA technique enabled the agency to find cellphones even when they were turned off. JSOC troops called this ’The Find,’ and it gave them thousands of new targets," the Post reported.

MORE: NSA Leaks 2013 – A Timeline of NSA Revelations

Hoping for more information, British watchdog group Privacy International in August wrote directly to eight major mobile-phone manufacturers and operating-system providers asking how that could be possible.

So far, Ericsson, Google, Nokia and Samsung have responded — and, as far as they know or can say, it shouldn’t be possible to track powered-down cellphones.

All four companies claimed to be unaware of any exploit or vulnerability that would make tracking a powered-down phone possible, since pressing the "off" button on a phone entirely deactivates its network connectivity.

"When a mobile device running the Android Operating System is powered off, there is no part of the Operating System that remains on or emits a signal," Google told Privacy International.

Similarly, Samsung Vice President Hyunjoon Kim wrote: "Without the [mobile phone’s] power source, it is not possible to transmit any signal, due to the components being inactive. Thus the powered-off devices are not able to be tracked or monitored by any 3rd party." (You can read Samsung’s letter on Privacy International’s website.)

[...]

Read the full article at: tomsguide.com



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