Monday, July 19, 2010

The Cell-Phone Stalkers

Once upon a time, in a land far, far away, the only thing that telephones did was allow people to speak to one another. Those times are far past. Nowadays, cell-phones take pictures, read email, surf the web, play songs, offer games, GPS, a calculator...about the only thing it can't do is cook your dinner-yet. But all that technology requires computing power, and with computing power comes the ability for people to do not so nice things with it.

One of those sinister things is to use stalking software to track your every move. A teenage girl and her family were surprised when they started to receive threats and intimidating phone calls by an unknown person. "I know what you're doing," he said. "I know where you are." And somehow, he always did. It turns out this girls' stalker knew about all the conversations she was having, and all the places she had been.

So the family went to the police with their complaint. The police told them it was impossible for anyone to do what they were describing. Unfortunately, the police were wrong. Not only is it possible, but it's surprisingly easy. Anyone with $400 to burn and moderate IT skills can download software that will allow them to tap into any modern cell-phone, effectively hijacking your phone-and everything you do with it. They can read your email, listen in on your conversations, and track your web surfing. If your phone has GPS, they can even use it to know exactly where you are at any given time. A bit of information no professional hit man or neighborhood stalker should go without.

It's therefore our recommendation that you stop using your cell phone immediately. Yeah right. We thought you'd get a good chuckle out of that one. To be honest, there's not a whole lot you can do about it right now, nor are we an organization that goes around trying to scare people about the thousand different things that could go wrong. We just wanted to make sure parents are aware of the danger. Anyone can tap into your phone and track everything you do with it. So it's best to keep those deep-dark intimate secrets (which you happen to be sharing among friends) to land lines. That way, the only person listening in will be some bored technician from the National Security Administration.

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