By Dilip Mistry
Germany’s interior minister Hans-Peter Friedrich’s claims that the hacking of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s phone was giving rise to “conspiracy theories” underestimated the reality.
US National Security Agency’s silent response to the allegations that American spies had eavesdropped on the German Chancellor’s mobile phone took another surprising twist this week. German weekly Focus magazine claims an unnamed security official has identified taps on the mobile phone by at least five foreign intelligence agencies
As well as U.S. surveillance, Ms. Merkel’s phone is alleged to have been accessed by Russia, China, North Korea and the U.K. German intelligence officials have already said they suspect that both the Russian and U.K. embassies in Berlin are participating in electronic eavesdropping.
Although it is illegal to tap someone’s mobile phone without their consent, it has become a tool, not only of spies, but fraudsters and increasingly blackmailers. They will use this technique to harvest personal information or call records from their unsuspecting victims.
Signs that a mobile phones security has been compromised include: the phone battery feeling warmer than usual when not in use; phone needs frequent charging, even when new; the phone turns on or off on its own; static noise is heard with regular intervals or clicking; screen distortion; unfamiliar numbers on the display or the phone taking a long time to turn off.
To avoid most hacking attempts means keeping your phone protected, reducing access to the phone by keeping it close and enabling the password lock system; surprisingly more than half of people do not do this.
If you do feel your mobile has been hacked mobile operators are normally equipped with the required technology to indentify the breach, wipe the bugs and restore the device to its original manufacturer setting.