An age without privacy: how to track a phone without leaving a trace
A controversial truth suggested many times by the creator, owner and CEO of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg is getting more and more certain day by day: Privacy, as we know it doesn’t exist any more. Cell phone trackers are the very proof of this statement. Knowing how to track a phone without leaving a trace is very useful. Nowadays anyone can easily track any phone by using special apps and services. Knowing this, and learning from it, also means that we can have some control on our own exposure to tracking.
Using Mark Zuckenberg's creation, Facebook as an example, we can clearly see the patterns of this control. We are able to set what we share on Facebook, who we share our details with and how. We are also able to set our privacy levels on Google, but we are still not in control of how these companies are using our data, regardless of our individual settings.
Data gathered from our behaviours are used by businesses, who use Facebook and Google to market products to us, based on our very own actions. We don’t have much influence on how these giants are using our data, this is the price we pay for “free” services.
Apps to track someone's phone without leaving a trace
Facebook and Google started to use tracking to improve their own services and to better target their advertisements, but there are other companies that offer cell phone tracking services; companies looking to give a complete solution to track other people’s phones and gain access to certain parts of those devices.
It might be surprising, but gaining access to someone’s phone can provide a vast amount of information, well above just call history and messages. The right way, people can access social media accounts, pictures, location history and conversation history as well in certain cases.
The most popular methods are simple to use: it requires a simple download of an apk file (a mobile app installation package) from a website directly to the target phone, or providing access rights through a browser. Once the phone is “locked”, the user can track and access all the data on the target phone via a web platform from anywhere in the world.
What are these cell phone tracking apps used for?
Cell phone tracking apps can be used for several reasons: tracking lost devices, locating people, exercising parental control, but there are other use case scenarios as well.
These apps can also be used to track someone without their knowledge: spying on employees, partners, or kids. People can read entire conversations to figure out if employees are revealing confidential information, to catch a cheating spouse, or to see if the kids are up to no good.
There are noble reasons to spy on someone, to protect them, or to help them, but as Peter Parker said : “With great power comes great responsibility”.
Fortunately for everyone, most of these apps can’t be used for taking control of someone’s phone, they are usually limited to spying and tracking.
The dangers of black hat hacking
There is also a dark side to the story. There are people, called “hackers” who have a vast knowledge of the digital world, and some of them can have malicious intent. They can also be split into two categories:
- White hat hackers: those who use their knowledge and abilities for good by helping to improve cyber security, fighting internet crimes, helping police to capture criminals.
- Black hat hackers: those who use their power for evil and selfish reasons by stealing, mining data for commercial reasons, and hijacking devices.
Black hat hackers are the reason to have a strong passwords on every accounts, to update every devices to the latest software, the reason for companies and governments to keep improving their security systems, to avoid information and financial theft.
White hat hackers are fighting against black hat hackers, but everyone has a responsibility to make sure they do whatever they can to secure the digital world.