WIT Press

Are Cell Phones Safe?


Free (open access)





Page Range

59 - 69




364 kb

Paper DOI



WIT Press


H. B. Wolfe


We take for granted every day that we are safe from any given risk because we are protected by various standards, statutes, and laws. The cell phone has become ubiquitous and is currently being used by more than 5 billion people around the world. It is really nothing more than a small computer with a radio transmitter and receiver integrated into it. Newer phones may also record photos, videos and sound. Some have a built in Global Positioning Satellite System capability providing the ability to track the phone’s physical location. Every generation of cell phone has expanded its capabilities and we are now able to communicate with the Internet in addition to normal telephone activity. Along with these capabilities come a number of risks. Some of these are normally associated with using the Internet exposing users to malware of various kinds. However, there are other more insidious risks that are less known. This paper will discuss all of the risks associated with cell phone use including malware; loss, theft, and seizure; communications interception and loss of privacy; location logging and tracking; and bugging. Most people are not aware of these threats and believe that their service provider has put in place measures to eliminate any risks as well as protecting their privacy by the use of cryptography. While there can never be 100% safety, the accompanying discussions will cover mitigating alternatives that can be put in place to reduce the identified cell phone risks. Keywords: data encryption, mobile phones, triggerfish, Bluetooth. 1 Introduction In 1968 Joseph Licklidder [1], sometimes referred to as the \“father of the Internet” said \“In a few years, men will be able to communicate more effectively through a machine than face to face.” The mobile phone is an embodiment of that forecast. Mobile phones, cell phones, personal data assistants (PDA), smart


data encryption, mobile phones, triggerfish, Bluetooth