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Thread: fbi can activate your phones mic even when your phone is off???

  1. #21
    iPhoneaholic HotStuff2's Avatar
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    It's amazing that people who seem to know what they're talking about think that turning your cell phone off actually stops everything. It doesn't. As long as the battery is in it, it's still active. Proximity is the key, however; you have to be very close. That's why you see people on TV taking the battery out; that's not just TV BS, it's real. it can't be done from another state, or even another city; the effective range depends on the cell phone, but it's typically within ~300 feet or so.

    It can be done, it has been done, and the federal courts have upheld the legality of it. You don't need to believe me...but you should believe a federal judge.

    Furthermore, there was a rather notorious case of a family who has been "terrorized" by unknown individuals, who not only changed their voice mail greetings, but actually changed their ringtone - while the phones were off - to a garbled voice saying "answer the phone", among other things. It happened in the presence of police officers, the school principal, and several other authority figures. They changed phones, they changed their numbers, and it still kept happening. Same technology. Just because YOU don't know how to do it doesn't make it impossible.

  2. #22
    Livin the iPhone Life Eurisko's Avatar
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    Wonderful, once you provide us with documented proof, we will stand corrected. Until then, you're blowing smoke out your arse.
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  3. #23
    He already has, if you look at the cnet link that he provided.

    (but then again, cnet is suddenly no longer credible for some reason)

    And, I have already provided a link of someone who has made some interesting exploits.

    I don't think you would believe anything that was shown either way at this point...

    I think that the main problem here is that the idea of a "cell phone" being something other then an electronic device.

    It's not this magical mystical thing that somehow is not relevant to the world of electronics. it operates on simple basic electronics. It is no different then a walkman for all intent and purposes. simply in it's complexity.

    And again, i think i was not being very clear on that. and also that when remote activation was mentioned, it was assumed that it was miles away, not necessarily feet.

    Again, can you does the radio turn off? I'll be more then happy to agree with that. But can you turn the radio back on indirectly? Do you need the radio to be on to receive a signal. No. All you need is a signal strong enough to make ONE connection. Only one small connection to bridge a connection and you now have an activated device.

    It is not cell phone science, it is electrical science. Electrical engineering. Something that has been around for nearly a hundred years.

    You have a (+) and a (-). Positive and ground. Anything that deals with electricity deals with those two things. Without them it does not work. End of statement. You can argue it if you want, and if you believe anything else other then that then you simply wont understand the point of this debate.

    This (+) and (-) connected together form what is called a circuit. Pretty easy to understand right? Now, say you want to turn that circuit on and off. Somewhere in the circuit you add a switch. That switch cause a break in the circuit, or opens the connection.

    Again, not cell phone science, electrical science.

    Now... Do you need a physical switch to accomplish this? Do you actually need a button or throw switch to bridge a connection?

    Ever hear of something called a spark plug? It creates a current of electricity that "jumps" from one pole to another?

    As far as i know, a cell phone uses a lot less voltage then a car.

    All I am simply saying is that a person who has the technology, and the know how, and the resources, and the inclination could very easily activate any electrical device, whether it be a cell phone or an MP3 player, as long as there is power to sustain that activation which in the real world is called a battery.

    You do not need a physical switch to accomplish this.

    And if you want another good example of electricity "arching" so to speak, then next time there is an electrical storm please stand outside with a metal pole and then complain that there was no buttom that just fried your butt off.

    Now, I have been called paranoid. I have been called a conspiracy theorist. And I have been chided for being sarcastic. Well, one, there really isn't much of a conspiracy cause all that was being pointed out was something that multiple sources have said exist. Two i never said that anyone was out to get me or you, so that rules out paranoia. Three, "scare tactics" was another term thrown out there, but i really don't see what the point of scaring anyone out of using their phone would be. Or the point of scaring anyone for anything, that would be entirely counter productive.

    Yes, I am trying to scare you out of using your phone... Get real people...

    All I am simply saying is that from an academic standpoint based on electrical engineering and basic science that the possibility exists to remote activate a cell phone. And once that cell phone has been activated from a distance then the possibility does exist that someone, with again the know how, the tech, and the inclination could do it if they really wanted too.

    (I believe that there was another link that i put up that showed a fellow who actually exploited some of the security flaws in the iphone).

    I mean cmon people, this is a forum devoted entirely of people who want nothing more then to hack a phone. Is the scope of your knowledge and imagination solely limited to activating the phone without itunes unlocking it to be used on something other the Att, and changing the visual styles?

    Again, cell phones are not beyond the realm of electrical engineering or basic science.

    Thank you hotstuff2 for pointing out certain flaws in my arguement. Distance was certainly something that I had not pointed out.

    In closing, i want everyone here to memorize this statment;

    I have never heard about it, nor can i do it, therefore it must either a) not be true, or b) not exist, or c) cannot be done.

  4. #24
    iPhoneaholic ucim2cute's Avatar
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    I agree with Boe. We all just found out, that our work place has been doing it to us!! I know, I know, hard to believe, but it's true!! We are all still VERY pissed and shocked, that they have been listening to all of us for Heaven knows how long?? But, their excuse when confronted, is that they are just doing it to find out the moral at our workplace??? What a bunch of crap. But, that's exactly what was going on, actually, it was a little different. Just a bit though. One of my coworkers walked into management without an appointment, and when he entered, could hear peoples voices, which he recognized, coming out of the human resources cell phone(speaker) while she was typing away doing her work!! He freaked and told her, hey that is so and so talking, why is it coming out of your cell phone speaker?? She freaked and said oh it;s nothing, and closed her phone! he told lots of people at the plant, and lots of us confronted management, and that's when they came up with the excuse that "oh we just need to find out how the moral here at work is"??? Of course we are now trying to find out what we can do if anything?? But, somehow, they have the capability of somehow manipulating this, so why couldn't more powerful people?? But hey, if we have nothing to hide, i don't care who listens... well, at least that's how I see it!!
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  5. #25
    Livin the iPhone Life Eurisko's Avatar
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    @boe_dye: Why do you always have to write essay's? As I'm an electronics engineer by trade, I do know quite well what electronic devices are, and aren't, capable of. And a cnet link does not constitute proof by any stretch.

    Hotstuff2 said the courts on the federal level have held up the legality of this, which means there was a precedent setting case. And since all precedent settings cases are made available online through the Library of Congress, I'd like to see it. Now my searches on the legitimacy of these claims have come up empty, but since you two seem to be so intent on its validity, please show be government documented and verified proof, the case file number would be a good start. Cnet links just don't cut it.

    Your quote ":I have never heard about it, nor can i do it, therefore it must either a) not be true, or b) not exist, or c) cannot be done." is not applicable. I don't think anyone here, including myself, have claimed that if they don't know about something, or how to do it, it must be false.

    The premise of science is simple, can something be demonstrated, documented and reproduced in a controlled environment. You have not done that here. So I will continue to wait.

    Lastly: "Do you need the radio to be on to receive a signal. No." Go tell your highschool science teacher that one, but don't blame me if he laughs at you.
    Last edited by Eurisko; 2007-12-09 at 09:23 PM.
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  6. #26
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    HOLD ON i'm sure EVERYBODY is FULLY aware of the fact that when your phone is connected and/or roaming it gives all nearby powered on speakers heavy static that makes a dreadfully annoying noise...

    this NEVER happens when the phone is off so boedye consider this in your elongated analysis...

  7. #27
    Allright, do to popular demand, i will keep this short.

    you keep saying the radio...

    i am not talking about the radio.

    You are totally correct in that saying that the radio no matter where you are interferes with audio devices (i have a 100 watt guitar amplifier in one of my rooms, and i can't tell you how many times i have heard the b b b b beeep staticy noise. I have on occasion heard my amp talking to me so to speak if i accidentally bump my phone in my pocket and make a call because the pickups in my guitar amplify the speaker. It's really quite entertaining.)

    Never the less, i am simply not talking about the radio function on the phone.

    @ucim2cute i believe that you are referring to something called "phishing". That is something that has been around for as long as cordless phones have been around.

    I do not fully understand how it is done, but again I understand the concept. Essentially you have a radio receiver that intercepts the signal as it is going out. Thus making it possible to listen in on cordless calls.

    You used to be able to get all the necessary components to do that at radio shack, but that was before radio shack became a glorified best buy or circuit city...

    Phone phreaking in and of itself has been around for years. I remember watching a conversation between Steve Wozniak, Kevin Mitnick and some blind fellow who called himself Captain Crunch and how they all played around with it years ago when the technology was in it's infancy.

    There will always be someone out there who will always say "how do i do it", and figure out a way how.

    (didn't mean to post two in a row, i just didn't notice the other post until i hit enter)
    Last edited by boe_dye; 2007-12-10 at 12:42 AM. Reason: Automerged Doublepost

  8. #28
    Livin the iPhone Life Eurisko's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by boe_dye View Post
    Allright, do to popular demand, i will keep this short.

    you keep saying the radio... i am not talking about the radio.

    Never the less, i am simply not talking about the radio function on the phone.
    And so the bubble begins to burst, and the truth starts peeking out. You may not (now) be talking about the radio, but the so called FBI article this whole thing started over IS talking about the radio, and that's why we're here. They are not saying they are connecting via bluetooth, they are not saying they are connecting via WiFi. The article stipulates that the FBI can remotely access and activate your wireless phone's mic by dialing into it (while its off).

    Now all of a sudden, we're not talking about the radio. Well, then what are we talking about now?
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  9. #29
    i never was solely concerned about the radio.

    it is clear you have not thoroughly read my posts. i kept saying i agree that the radio is off, but the computer that accesses the radio is not.

    i have been saying that i would turn on the computer to access the radio.

    i never once argued that it could be done through the radio.

    no bubble breaking at all, your simply realizing what i have been saying.

    remote activation of a device.

    Once you turn the device on, you can do whatever you want with it.

    as i have been trying to impress upon everybody here that the possibility of remote activation of a device is possible, i have been met with accusations of being paranoid, a conspiracy theorist, and by my own fault, sarcastic.

    i have been trying to say that all one would need to do i find a way to power on the device someway remotely and you could do whatever it is that you wanted to it.

    everyone keeps saying the radio the radio the radio...

    everyone says that foxnews is not reliable. c-net is not reliable.

    allright fine

    I found an interesting article that came from a little place called MIT.

    http://web.mit.edu/newsoffice/2007/wireless-0607.html

    This article explains the concept, while not the application of remote powering a device. The tech is there, it's all in how you use it.

  10. #30
    Livin the iPhone Life Eurisko's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by boe_dye View Post
    no bubble breaking at all, your simply realizing what i have been saying.

    remote activation of a device. Once you turn the device on, you can do whatever you want with it.
    Ok, since this has taken a ridiculous turn, I'm going to come off sounding sarcastic, but I'm really trying to understand where your head is at.

    How do you activate and control a phone without the use of a transmission protocol? Do you send it bursts of electricity from hundreds of miles away? (The mobsters are in New York, the FBI is in Washington). Do you send it some sort of morce code via electro-magnatism? How does the FBI's computers "talk" to the cellphone in order to turn the mic on without the use of a over-the-air computer language?

    Incidentally, the MIT article you pointed out was referring to wireless energy. That's powering a device wirelessly, not controlling (talking to) it.
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  11. #31
    allright, i'll be happy to tell you the concept, again this is the concept, the idea behind what i want it to do.

    First, it couldn't be hundreds of miles away. You would have to have someone close by. Again we are talking feet not miles.

    When you were younger have you ever gone near high tension wires? Have you ever thrown one of those long tubed florescent lights up towards the wires at nite? It's not exactly the easiest thing to do, so chances are no. And thats fine, i just hung around people who had way too much time on their hands.

    Either way, what happens is that if you are in fact able to get the bulb that high, the bulb will light up for a second before it comes plummeting to the earth and shattering in a million pieces.

    That is the concept.

    You need to turn it on before you can talk to it...

    My contention is that you must find a way to turn it on before you can talk to it. Once you turn it on, you can do anything you want with it. But the key is turning it on. once you activate the computer, then you activate the radio.

    Once you activate the radio, then you can talk to the phone. But you need someone close enough to emit the field or signal in order to activate it. That was my point about the whole explaining how a switch works. Remote wireless switching so to speak.

    Nikola Tesla was actually the mastermind behind that idea...

    The purpose of the MIT article was to say that you can remote power a device. Now what was interesting was that they claimed that what they were doing would be able to power a laptop without a battery (of course in time if i read the article correctly).

    So to sum up the CONCEPT would be, have someone close by emit some kind of signal, whether it be RF or Electro Magnet (my bet would be on the electromagnet), activate the computer, which has been determined to already be functioning on some level (internal clock, bios, etc), Once the computer has been activated then the radio is sure to follow. Now remember you don't know that the phone has been activated, so you wouldn't think to check. You think that the phone is turned off and safe in your pocket, so you wouldn't know one way or the other.

    SO the computer is activate, the radio follows now your phone is on. Once that happens you can do whatever you want, provided you have the knowhow, the tech, and the inclination.

    That is also why i made a point to argue that the button was nothing more then a momentary on switch or a normally open switch. All the button does is creates a connection the activates the computer, almost like a car. Once you turn the starter on then the key is irrelevant.

    All i was proposing would be to bypass the button and turn it on. But again, i certainly cannot do it.

    Oh, and i did not note any sarcasm in your post. My head is exactly where it should be; about 3-4 inches off my shoulders. I don't cry when someone offends me, or is sarcastic. In the art of rhetoric, or argumentation as outlined by Aristotle, once you attack the person and not the issue you lose site of the point, it become a red herring. So i just nod my head and go uh huh, and continue on.

    I am actually enjoying this conversation immensely...

  12. #32
    Livin the iPhone Life Eurisko's Avatar
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    Ok, I'm done. Rational converse isn't possible. You've strayed well beyond the original "news" that the FBI can call a cell phone and activate it's mic when it's not turned off.

    You believe what you wish. I'll just sign off saying I'm not phased or worried in the slightest about this "news".
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  14. #33
    My iPhone is a Part of Me Sidetalker's Avatar
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    haha eurisko loses

    very interesting conversation...i commend both of you.
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  16. #34
    Well, thank you very much for the kind word

    and in regards to a comment that i made earlier...

    "FREE KEVIN!"

  17. #35
    Quote Originally Posted by Sidetalker View Post
    haha eurisko loses

    very interesting conversation...i commend both of you.
    The lack of information is not proof of existence...

    meaning that until someone can show exactly how the FBI does this, or anyone for that matter, it's a myth.

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  19. #36
    It is possible on some phones but def not on the iphone...

    The idea that ur phone does still have power even when off is true, although if the bios is not loaded then no code can talk to the mic...

    also if u have it in ur pocket or even 5 feet away it will not be clear enough if it was achieved...

    rhetoric at best... while it is "possible" it is WAY unlikely.. basically wont happen...

  20. #37
    i can certainly deal with unlikely.

    @dash true but the lack of evidence does mean mean that the evidence does not exist. However i am curious as to why the given evidence (the c-net article and the newscast on foxnews that is like 6 months old now, and the other article that briefly shows the iphones security flaws) is not being accepted. These article exists on many many news sources, and from an research stand point are very relevant and undeniably valid. So why is it not accepted as actually having happened?

    Are we now going to pick and choose the sources that we like, and disregard the ones that we don't like based on some obscure prejudice. Or should we discover the truth in all sources and disregard the crap that gives us prejudice in the first place?

    @mkurasz, i agree with what you have said concerning the bios, which is why i kept saying that you would need to activate the computer first as opposed to the radio. again, once the computer is on, then the radio is on, and therefore your phone is activated and fully functional to be done with as please (as shown in this here link http://www.fastcompany.com/articles/...he-iphone.html)... it would be depended on a sequence of events in order for it to work.

    i am inclined to disagree that the phone would be garbled. And this is based on a personal observation. Allow me to explain; I am notorious for not locking my phone. And as you all know not locking your phone and leaving it in your pocket can sometimes lead to some very long voice messages on someone else's phone if they happen to be dialed. My wife, usually the one I speak with most on my phone, is mostly the one plagued by this type voice messaging. I have listened to myself have conversations with others when my phone was in my pocket. It just happened that the conditions were right and for the most part you could hear what was being said.

    Now normally I just wear jeans, and or cargo khaki's. Certainly not the thinnest material, compared to at the least, business pants which are considerably thinner. That coupled with the fact that many phones are worn on belt clips and you would most certainly have a near flawless reception with that.

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  22. #38
    I dont know anything about FBI and its capability to listen Iphones or other...but do know someone that sells Nokia that can turn mics remotelly not when phone is off.

  23. #39
    iPhoneaholic HotStuff2's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eurisko View Post
    Wonderful, once you provide us with documented proof, we will stand corrected. Until then, you're blowing smoke out your arse.
    ummm...there's a federal case, with a federal judge, who ruled that it is legal for the government to do so. What more "proof" do you need? The federal courts are not in the habit of making rulings on things that do not exist, are "urban legend", or are simply not true. If there were no basis in proof, why would a federal judge have to make a ruling on the technology and use of it thereof?

    Exactly.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dash-2 View Post
    The lack of information is not proof of existence...

    meaning that until someone can show exactly how the FBI does this, or anyone for that matter, it's a myth.
    That last sentence is simply ignorance on your part. Put it this way: you're basically saying that until the exact torture procedures at Gitmo Bay are made public and we we know exactly what they do, it's a myth and there isn't any torture of prisoners. Or hey, until Apple tells you exactly how they remove the subsidy code from the iPhone, it's not real, right? I mean, you don't know how they do it for people in Germany who bought an iPhone and got put on the "white list". So until Apple discloses exactly how they do it, it must be a "myth".

    Furthermore, it's entirely possible that dissemination of said information could be considered a security breach, and subject the place where it's disseminated to legal ramifications. Do I know how it's done? Yes, I do. I'm a computer (network) security consultant. It's what I do for a living. I'm very good at what I do. I recently (about 4 months ago) applied for an open position with the FBI's computer crimes (forensics) division, and was informed (about a month ago) that I had made the "short list", and the background check on myself is underway. It'll take roughly 8 months to a year or so to complete. But that's not the point.

    Again, simply because YOU (or anyone else) doesn't know how to do it, doesn't make it a "myth" or "untrue". Demanding that you be told how it's done and saying that until someone tells you, that it's not true, is simply ignorance and stupidity on your part.

    Quote Originally Posted by Eurisko View Post
    Hotstuff2 said the courts on the federal level have held up the legality of this, which means there was a precedent setting case. And since all precedent settings cases are made available online through the Library of Congress, I'd like to see it. Now my searches on the legitimacy of these claims have come up empty, but since you two seem to be so intent on its validity, please show be government documented and verified proof, the case file number would be a good start. Cnet links just don't cut it.
    BTW, one thing should be pointed out here: while you are correct, federal rulings are public information, SOME federal rulings, which are deemed a threat to national security or contain information of a secret nature, are redacted or unavailable to the general public. You have to make a written request under the Freedom of Information Act, and even then, the ruling you receive, IF you get approved, will have some (sometimes a LOT) of information redacted. The case C|Net (and myself) is referring to falls under that. The FBI asked for, and of course was granted, sealing the information due to national security, since they detailed how they did it, and the FBI does not want that information publicly available (duh.) Which is why when you search for it on the Library of Congress, it won't show up. Feel free to file a written request under the Freedom of Information Act, though.
    Last edited by HotStuff2; 2007-12-14 at 01:09 PM. Reason: Automerged Doublepost

  24. #40
    well, most people don't really want to dig for information nowadays if that information isn't given right at the keystroke and click of the browser, and there is such a thing as sealed court records...

    but i digress...

    You are right in saying that rulings aren't made unless something exists. I could give you a very good example of something that i picked up something off of the department of defense (.gov) website that by conventional wisdom and knowledge doesn't exist. However there it is in black and white. It gives just enough information where one would say, "now why is this classified?"

    When it comes to seeking information, real information, you don't just point and click on your browser. That's very high school, and in most cases today very college also. Sadly the internet has made people lazy instead of smarter.

    You may very well not be looking in the right place also... I mean you wouldn't look for your car key's in the fridge if you misplaced them would you?

    The simple answer really comes down to this;

    For the most part there are two types of people. A person who is willing to believe what it is that they are told and move on...

    Or two,

    A person who never believes what they are told and researches until the answer is truly found...

    Which by the way, funnily enough, and i just thought of this...

    Has anyone noticed that the people who say it can't be haven't given one shred of proof that they are right?

    I mean sure they have told us their opinion, but as far as a credible source of information. I haven't seen one link, one reference or anything that proves their case. Oh sure they have said why they think it couldn't be done, but i really haven't seen any third party documentation from any credible source backing this up.

    I on the other hand, as well as hotstuff2 have given a couple of links saying how it could be done, and in one case was done.

    Yet no one has given proof of how it can't be done...

    Which by dash-2 definition of saying that.

    "The lack of information is not proof of existence...

    meaning that until someone can show exactly how the FBI does this, or anyone for that matter, it's a myth."

    Which would mean that until someone can show us that remote activation of a cellular phone that has been turned off CANNOT be done, the idea that it CANNOT be turned on remotely and against the owners consent, must be a myth.

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