The Dangers of Smartphones

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posted on Apr, 18 2014 @ 04:42 PM
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I am posting this to give people an idea of the dangers of Smartphones, especially non-rooted Smartphones. I think it needs to be reiterated and kept in the collective mind. The following applies to both the personal and corporate use of Smartphones. The impact can be devastating when you have been hacked. I wrote responses for an ATS user (modified and added to a bit now), since they asked good and important questions. I use myself as the "target" in the example as I work in a field where Intellectual Property theft is rampant.

A Scenario
(example of a potential situation in regards to industrial espionage)

Company A has heard I have technology they want (since I own a research company) and they don't know exactly where I am because I have everything tied to another address (I prefer a certain amount of anonymity), but they have my contact phone number that goes to a Smartphone. Imagine that I am not rooted and they have hired a hacker to get into my phone to get as much info as they can. (BTW, I have two Smartphones, one is personal (public and non-rooted) and has things I don't care about, and the other (private and rooted) has technical information). For the purposes of this exercise, we will consider that I use the public non-rooted phone containing ALL the sensitive information.

I have an ongoing relationship with Company B and they want to buy or license my technology. Company B asks me to take pictures of my technology and send it to them with information concerning operation of the technology in preparation for a meeting and sale. This could be any product or technology in actual fact or even sales leads information. So I take pictures of the technology on my phone and I put some text information on the phone for a presentation along with some personal notes that delve deep into the technology from my main computers, just in case I forget something.

Company B and I have our meeting scheduled. Prior to, or going to the meeting, Company A hacks my phone, makes copies of all the pictures and all the data/patents pending, and know by my GPS tracking information where I am and when I will get to the meeting. They also know from the EXIF data that the pictures were taken where the technology resides, probably at my house, so they know the exact location of the technology and all the information pertaining to the Intellectual Property. In the corporate environment of a large building, GPS information could be resolved down to a room containing the target information or technology.

Even though my house has an alarm system, the lines are cut and a jammer used to disable the wireless system so that a couple of thieves can come in while I am at the meeting, grab the technology and all of my research data, without any fear of me showing up. Because they know where my phone is through GPS tracking and that I have the phone with me. They confirm my location easily, because during the meeting, Company A turns on the mic and camera on my phone and records the entire meeting, to insure they have even possibly more data on the technology, who I am meeting with in Company B and what the technology is worth to Company B. (You can apply this to sales leads and your competitors undercutting your sales and business interests as well.)

By the end of the day, when I am on my way home, Company A has physically stolen the technology, all the research data and the patents, and they have even wiped all the data and pictures from my phone. I have nothing left, no device, no pictures, written notes or research data to prove anything to Company B except a filed patent pending. Now imagine this with trade secrets and formulas, nothing is left. This has not happened to me, but it can happen to anyone.

Non-rooted Smartphone technology is a tool for criminals.

Now if it is the NSA, CSIS or some other government organization, they can track you anytime. When I went down to San Antonio, Texas for a DHS related project, they tracked me from the time I left the house (Ontario, Canada) to the time I got back. In fact, they even G7'd me (gave me a special kind of diplomatic/military immunity) which allowed me to pass right through security checkpoints. Everyone knew me by name, captains, FE's, stewardesses and customs officials, without me showing any ID, which I'll tell you was pretty creepy.

That's the power of tracking and hacking on Smartphones in a government and corporate environment ;-) Now apply it to yourself at a personal level with account names, email address, passwords, SSN/SIN, credit card numbers, bank account information, etc. and see what you think about that.

Some Technical Information on Rooting and Usage

Yes, the phone company frowns on ROOTING because it prevents them gaining income from contracted advertisers and government/corporate trackers, and yes, they state it will void your warranty. However, rooting your phone is like taking almost complete control of the device (sans firmware manipulation), it gives you the ability to put a firewall on your Smartphone, just like a firewall on a personal computer. With Rooting you become the administrator of the OS (operating system). Once a good firewall is in place, no application or advertiser can use your data streams, your phone number or your personal data for anything that you do not specifically allow the application or advertiser to do, which can include turning on microphones and cameras.

Being non-rooted on a Smartphone is like having a normal computer that has open access to the internet 24/7/365 and any program within the computer can contact advertisers, developers or government/police whenever the program in the computer decides to, you have no control. Adding a firewall to the computer (Smartphone) allows you to block programs and prevent them from communicating. Blocking them decreases data usage and increase personal privacy.

Imagine that your non-rooted Smartphone is like a server, it accepts all incoming requests and sends out information on demand and/or by third party (not you) advertising, tracking, program scheduling or use.

That being said, with rooting and fire-walling you would experience data usage drops anywhere from 10% to 90% depending on how much you use your phone and what you use it for, because the advertising and application transmissions are not allowed to communicate, with a properly set up firewall, with their pre-programmed locations on the internet or other phone networks, therefore their data usage is negated.

Would you run your home computer this way, with no firewall? Allowing anyone and everyone (government and hackers) access to all the data on your home computer? All your passwords, user names, account numbers, bank information, personal information, your physical location, etc.? If you are non-rooted, it doesn't matter if it is the NSA, CSIS or a hacker, you are an open book that can be tracked and targeted anytime, day or night.

I don't mean to scare anyone, I'm just telling you the truth.

If you root your phone yourself, make sure you know what you are doing because if you screw it up, you could "brick" the phone and turn it into a paperweight. If you get your phone rooted by a third party, make sure they are reputable with guarantees. This is very important because the third party doing the rooting could inject their own mallware/applications into the phone which will leave you even more open to hacking.

Cheers - Dave




posted on Apr, 18 2014 @ 04:55 PM
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a reply to: bobs_uruncle

I am old school and I completely misunderstand peoples need to carry tracking and bugging devices on them all the time. Let alone any sensitive information about their personal business.

Frog water temperature near boiling…



posted on Apr, 18 2014 @ 05:07 PM
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a reply to: bobs_uruncle

I understand that 'rooting' would make the warranty void, but what exactly is it?
What is in involved to do that?

No, I don't have a smartphone --flip phone--but am possibly thinking of getting one later on down the road and had heard of this but no one really explained the process or what happens to the phone when rooted

Is it as complicated as it sounds?


Thanks~
snarky


ETA: I got what you meant by needing a firewall but was curious as to how complicated the process was to root a phone



edit on 18-4-2014 by snarky412 because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 18 2014 @ 05:15 PM
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originally posted by: snarky412
a reply to: bobs_uruncle

I understand that 'rooting' would make the warranty void, but what exactly is it?
What is in involved to do that?

No, I don't have a smartphone --flip phone--but am possibly thinking of getting one later on down the road and had heard of this but no one really explained the process or what happens to the phone when rooted

Is it as complicated as it sounds?

Thanks~
snarky

ETA: I got what you meant by needing a firewall but was curious as to how complicated the process was to root a phone


It involves removing the OEM supplied operating system and then re-installing the same system, except where in the old system your carrier was the administrator, in the new operating system you are the administrator. This gives you administrator rights to install anything you want. I specifically look at firewalls because they are the easiest way to block unwanted communications. As far as the complications, it is not hard, usually takes about 15 to 30 minutes and when done, if done properly, you see no difference in the way the screen looks or the feel of the device. Generally once rooted they operate anywhere from 10% to 50% faster as there are fewer parasitic processes being allowed to communicate.

Cheers - Dave



posted on Apr, 18 2014 @ 05:24 PM
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originally posted by: intrptr
a reply to: bobs_uruncle

I am old school and I completely misunderstand peoples need to carry tracking and bugging devices on them all the time. Let alone any sensitive information about their personal business.

Frog water temperature near boiling…


I hear you. I like the technology but I don't like the loss of anonymity. Everything can be cracked, hacked and reverse engineered and that is our only defense against the onslaught of corporate and government privacy invasion. Rooting is a first step when using this kind of Smartphone technology. The next would be firmware modification and that is coming. I am looking at it myself and purchased the requisite processor emulators so I could re-write the embedded code. There are only four lines of assembly code in the firmware to me modified to effectively turn off remote access, GPS, Camera and Microphone activation while the phone is in the standby (what they call off) state. If the primary "incoming call" initiator can be located for the remote activation, it's just one line of code. I have started working on the disassembler/assembler/emulator to run on the PC to analyze Smartphone firmware. We all have to have hobbies, right?

Cheers - Dave



posted on Apr, 18 2014 @ 05:52 PM
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a reply to: intrptr

But most of us don't have the education or time if the intelligence to protect ourselves. The other day I posted a thread on ATS abut my discovery that downloading a flashlight app included in the fine print of my agreement to use it that the company had the right to turn on my camera at anytime that they wished. --How many people know what they unwillingly agree to these days? As I've said more than once on here, we quietly allowed the cookie affair to become the standard and see where it has led us.

People, is nothing else, read the disclosure the apps want you to accept to get their nifty apps. You may be surprised at what you are giving away.



posted on Apr, 18 2014 @ 06:07 PM
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a reply to: Aliensun

Speaking of apps, that is one of the things I read about them pertaining to smartphones

Only acquire a small amount of apps on a phone, only ones that you need and trust
Apps drain phone plus like you stated, sneak stuff in that people don't take the time to read about

Who on God's green Earth cares if Apple has over 500,000 apps??????
Seriously....

I may just stick with another flip phone when this one wears out....it's 4 years old. HA!!
We don't change them out like our friends do
They change phones every 6 mos. or so it seems



posted on Apr, 18 2014 @ 06:10 PM
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originally posted by: Aliensun
a reply to: intrptr

But most of us don't have the education or time if the intelligence to protect ourselves. The other day I posted a thread on ATS abut my discovery that downloading a flashlight app included in the fine print of my agreement to use it that the company had the right to turn on my camera at anytime that they wished. --How many people know what they unwillingly agree to these days? As I've said more than once on here, we quietly allowed the cookie affair to become the standard and see where it has led us.

People, is nothing else, read the disclosure the apps want you to accept to get their nifty apps. You may be surprised at what you are giving away.


You have a very valid point, So many people just want want want, they neglect to read the fine print or what else they are downloading and installing. Even with a large supposedly reputable firm like Adobe, they have a little radio box that starts out clicked-on to download McAfee with Flash or any of their products. Seriously, why default download, why not start it un-clicked so if people miss it, they don't get some crap they don't want in the first place. But it's all about slipping things by, maybe you won't notice and another monitoring system will be dropped into your computer or Smartphone, another bit of malware or another bit of privacy stealing garbage.

Aliensun is right, read everything before you download and install !

Cheers - Dave



posted on Apr, 18 2014 @ 06:41 PM
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I have one of those stupid phones. I never put my personal information on it, or do any banking. If I need to buy anything with my phone, I get a prepaid credit card. I have had my online bank account hacked before, and I learned my lesson.



posted on Apr, 18 2014 @ 07:48 PM
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a reply to: bobs_uruncle


But it's all about slipping things by, maybe you won't notice and another monitoring system will be dropped into your computer or Smartphone, another bit of malware or another bit of privacy stealing garbage.

That. Just so you can be even more paranoid, the cable company requires us to have these little boxes on our TVs to receive signals and authority and all (ahem) that. One night I awoke to a blank screen with the message (from memory):

"The cable company is downloading software upgrades to your cable box, the process will take twenty minutes, sorry for any inconve-- blahblahblah", what?

Of course they do it at night when all the elves are asleep. The cable boxes are two way, hmmm.

ETA: Smart PGE meters, phones and cable boxes. Cameras, phone trackers and bugs, facial recognition, ATM , Debit cards, bar code readers RFID… Lo Jack, On Star…

Quick, someone pull the plug. The BIG plug.
edit on 18-4-2014 by intrptr because: additional



posted on Apr, 19 2014 @ 12:03 AM
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Good thread .. I always root mine then degoogle and remove all the bloatware .. they run better , batt lasts longer and also install custom roms and adblockers.
Cant stand running non rooted stock software too limited and no privacy ..



posted on Apr, 19 2014 @ 02:15 AM
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originally posted by: Expat888
Good thread .. I always root mine then degoogle and remove all the bloatware .. they run better , batt lasts longer and also install custom roms and adblockers.
Cant stand running non rooted stock software too limited and no privacy ..



Can't help but envy people like you and Dave who know your way around tech stuff....
And for those of us like me that's not tech savvy, not knowing if you can trust a stranger with your phone, if I decide to get a smartphone and have it rooted

Must be nice.....*sigh*



posted on Apr, 19 2014 @ 03:50 AM
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originally posted by: snarky412

originally posted by: Expat888
Good thread .. I always root mine then degoogle and remove all the bloatware .. they run better , batt lasts longer and also install custom roms and adblockers.
Cant stand running non rooted stock software too limited and no privacy ..



Can't help but envy people like you and Dave who know your way around tech stuff....
And for those of us like me that's not tech savvy, not knowing if you can trust a stranger with your phone, if I decide to get a smartphone and have it rooted

Must be nice.....*sigh*
it took me awhile to figure out how to root had help from oldest son when rooted first one the rest learned from trial and error along with reading forums at xda alot of good info there ..
Rather funny cant use pc but manage ok on android ..



posted on Apr, 19 2014 @ 04:45 AM
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I don't have any secrets worth stealing, but I hate how a phone needsa google account to browse the web ... really?
Clearly need to update my knowledge on rooting my phone. Any software tools you'd recommend?
Thanks for a great thread!



posted on Apr, 19 2014 @ 04:50 AM
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I have also rooted all my devices and it is quite easy if you know how to use a computer. Jailbreaking the iPad was just downloading and executing an applicatio. Couldn't have been easier.

Rooting the Android phone was a bit more time consuming but also done without any special hardware in about 10 minutes. You just have to make sure that your phone is easily rootable. There are some phones that are much more complicated than others and many of the 'ready to use rooting kits' you can download are just malware.

So before you buy a new Android phone you should check the internet to see how this device can be rooted. And maybe the CyanogenMod website to see if this device is supported. If it is supported and there is a step by step manual it's very simple.

And I would never use a phone that is non-rooted or rooted but without a firewall added.



posted on Apr, 19 2014 @ 08:44 AM
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a reply to: intrptr i have comcast, they do that. It's not two way, it's your box downloading updates like a gane system or phone or pc.



posted on Apr, 19 2014 @ 08:53 AM
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a reply to: Lynk3


Thank you, Thing is I don't have any of that service. It was dead of night. If I didn't leave my TV on and happen to see it , I would be as blissfully unaware of that as all the other times it has probably happened.

By the way, all computers need to have two way to "download", its part of the process.

That and the slowed down process of channel change (to record your viewing habits) leads one to believe they are recording our viewing pleasure just like they record everything else we do and everywhere we go. In their ideal world anyway.

That was impossible in the days of antennas on the roof or single coax into the back of the TV set.

I know, anonymity… whats that?



posted on Apr, 19 2014 @ 09:08 AM
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Hands down root and custom roms are they way to go. I root everything. I will say that it can be a bit more difficult and time consuming on the newer phones but it's worth the trouble. It also makes the phone worth more when you sell it. Performance and battery life increases as well as full control of the phone. I'm a Samsung fan. My 9 yr old had a s3, my gf has the s4 mini, I have an s4. All all rooted with custom roms. As well as unlocked Sims or flashed to prepaid carriers for cheaper rates. I'm guessing I can recommend a site for those with androids interested in rooting I use for all my mods. XDA developers had info and guides on about anything Android. If your a Samsung user check out hyperdrive that's my personal favorite for the s3 and 4.Anyone wanting to root and needs some help I'm more than happy to point you in the right direction if needed just send my a Msg. I flash and mod as well as repair locally for folks to make a little cash and it let's me trade out to new phones.



posted on Apr, 19 2014 @ 12:49 PM
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a reply to: drivers1492

I just walked my wife through rooting another one of our phones last night, took all of 15 minutes and it was flawless. It really isn't hard to do, she is not technically adept but she can run a computer just fine, so with a bit of instruction she does great. The first time I ever did one, I was worried that it was all a scam to get malware or viri into the phones, but that wasn't the case. XDA developers are a very good site for information on just about ALL of the smartphones. If anyone needs help rooting I am quite sure between myself and other board members we can get you sorted out, it appears there is a ton of experience here and it should be put to good use.

Cheers - Dave



posted on Apr, 19 2014 @ 12:56 PM
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a reply to: snarky412

Like I said, the wife isn't tek savy and she did it on a Motorola Atrix 4g in 15 minutes. No data loss, already had the Superuser mounted and she installed the firewall as well. Most of these things are pretty straight forward. Here is the site she used and you'll notice the instructions are concise [url=http://www.atrixforums.com/forum/motorola-atrix-hacks/4414-how-root-motorola-atrix-1-all-versions-including-stock-locked-2-3-4-2-3-6-a.html]Link[ /url]. It's the first article in the thread.

I did have to find her a different version of adb.exe and fastboot, I grabbed the moto-fastboot and adb for her, but apart from that, perfect.

Cheers - Dave





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