Is it possible to listen to the iPhone?

by on April 14, 2022

The security of Apple gadgets is a well-known fact, although recently it has been disputed more often than before. But there is no reception against scrap, you understand.

Are you sure that no one can hear your conversations on the iPhone? No matter how. Spoiler alert: wiretapping is often legal—at least it’s not illegal.

Now I’ll tell you what types of wiretapping are and how to track phone number free on the iPhone. So do not rush to sell iPhone 13 Pro Max, as you still need it!

For starters: yes, your operator is listening to you completely legally?

Each operator has a mandatory installed SORM (system for operational-search activities). This practice exists not only in the US but also in other countries.

For wiretapping in the US, a court decision is needed. To be allowed to listen, the flexible wording “operational necessity” is sufficient. In the US, 4,148 permits were issued in 2020.

You can put a van with a mobile base station under the apartment’s windows. But this is rarely done – it is easier and cheaper to listen through the operator’s SORM. Besides, there is no need to drive a van for a victim to work.

 Finally, the base station can be faked, using a femtocell or a mobile complex for wiretapping. Such equipment is available from special services or large detective agencies. Just out of curiosity, they won’t.

Some apps can eavesdrop on the iPhone without you knowing.

The FinFisher server was used during the Arab Spring. The Egyptian government in 2008-2011 used a hole in iTunes to infect thousands of iPhones and listen to the conversations of opponents of the regime. The application cost 290 thousand euros.

FinFisher not only listened to phone conversations. He could turn on the microphone and camera to record everything around him.

 Developer Brian Krebbs pointed out the hole in 2008. But Apple did not immediately design to fix this vulnerability.

 In 2011, the story was made public by Julian Assange and WikiLeaks. The problem had to be urgently addressed.

Since 2015, the FinFisher application (including computer management software) has already been used by most governments worldwide.

How the method of wiretapping the iPhone through the beacon (beacon) works

 If no beacon applications (including malware) are installed on the iPhone, iOS will not react to their appearance. And Android can show a notification without apps through Google Play Services.

 So it is enough to persuade the owner of the iPhone to install a special application on the smartphone. For example, with discounts or bonuses. Or a game that is allegedly tied to the location of the device.

 After that, you can use your beacons for wiretapping or hack/fake someone else’s. And use them to collect data from the microphone of the desired smartphone. Prices for lighthouses start at $10.

Is it worth it to be afraid of wiretapping through the iPhone?

Marketers make extensive use of ultrasonic tracking. For example, the technology was used in the regional applications of McDonald’s and Krispy Kreme. The number of applications that work through iBeacon and its analogs has exceeded two hundred. And each of them could potentially be used for wiretapping.

Scientists have studied the shopping apps Shopkick, Lisnr, SilverPush and uncovered another dark side of the technology. When there is an advertisement on TV or when you are in a store, a beep sounds that your ear cannot hear. It is added to the clip or jingle.

Your laptop, smartphone, or tablet registers this signal. After that, profiles on all devices can be linked and track you more accurately. And it’s good if they just try to sell you something with the help of advertising. So think three times before googling something like free dns codes for us netflix or something like that. 

Typically both iBeacon and Eddystone support beacons. Smartphones pick up their signal from a distance of up to 50 m.

By the way, your employer can force you to wear such a beacon. Wristband devices are popular in sensitive businesses and companies that work with sensitive data.

Apple has already been accidentally pierced once. About wiretapping in FaceTime. 

 iPhone owners often chat via video calls through the standard FaceTime app. But even Apple makes mistakes.

 At the end of January 2019, a scandal erupted around FaceTime. It turned out that the interlocutor could be listened to even before he received the call in the application.

The circuit worked like this:

  •  The user started a FaceTime call.
  •  A swipe at the bottom of the screen opened the “Add person” menu.
  •  I entered my number in the search box.
  •  The group call started.
  •  The user heard everything that happened next to the phone of the interlocutor. Even if he hasn’t received the ring yet.

 At the same time, the subscriber at the other end did not suspect that he was being tapped. He just saw an incoming FaceTime call.

 Apple immediately recognized the problem and turned off Group FaceTime calls. They were returned with a security patch a few days later.

 But no one guarantees that such a bug will not “emerge” elsewhere. 

How to protect yourself from iPhone wiretapping?  

At a minimum, go through the list of your applications and disable some of them from accessing the microphone, at least if it’s not a messenger or a video app.

On the iPhone, this is done in the menu “Settings” – “Privacy” – “Microphone.”

On Android, you need to go to the list of applications, and for each check the “Application Permissions” item in the settings.

Some applications will allow you to recognize ultrasound—for example, UltraSound Detector for Android and Echo Meter Touch Bat Detector for iOS.

No one is protected from official wiretapping through SORM. But if you use messengers with normal encryption and do not install suspicious applications, the task for the “listeners” will be complicated.

Another option is a push-button dialer with a SIM card not in your name. It is important that only you and the person you need to contact know her number.

And do not chat near other people’s potentially infected, suspicious devices. They can theoretically listen through them.

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