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samzenpus

An anonymous reader writes "In the last few years there has been a significant upsurge in subverting the cellular network for law enforcement purposes. Besides old school tapping, phones are have become the ideal informant: they can report a fairly accurate location and can be remotely turned into covert listening devices. This is often done without a warrant. How can I default the RF transmitter to off, be notified when the network is paging my IMSI and manually re-enable it (or not) if I opt to acknowledge the incoming call or SMS? How do I prevent GPS data from ever being gathered or sent ?"

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Many mobile phone owners use their devices for non-urgent purposes like gaming (an addiction to Draw Something doesn’t qualify as urgent). But a huge chunk of U.S. consumers are using their cellphones and smartphones for more pressing needs — something Pew Internet Research is calling the “just-in-time” phenomenon.

A new Pew survey of more than 2,200 U.S. adults shows that 70 percent of all cellphone owners and 86 percent of smartphone owners say they’ve used their phones in the past 30 days to access immediate information, solve a problem or get help in an emergency.

The fact that cellphones and smartphones are being used as need-it-now devices really isn’t that surprising, since they put the world’s trove of information in our pockets. What’s more interesting is how those situations are categorized — something the mobile ad industry might want to pay heed to.

The majority of those surveyed — 41 percent — say they’ve used their phones for the basic task of coordinating meetings or get-togethers.

That outweighs the number of people who say they’ve used their phones to look up a restaurant (30 percent), check sports scores (23 percent) and get transit information (20 percent).

Less than one-fifth of those surveyed said they’ve used their phone in an emergency situation in the past 30 days, which is probably a good thing.

Another interesting tidbit: Despite the fact that slightly more women than men now own smartphones, as my AllThingsD colleague Ina Fried reports, men who own mobile phones are more likely than women to look up information during an argument. Some 31 percent of men admit to doing this, compared with 22 percent of women.

Could this be because women are less likely to experience memory loss? Just saying …

(Image courtesy of Flickr/Brenderous)

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The Mobile Revolution: Cultivating Boundaries of the Unbounded

Google Tech Talk March 2, 2012 Presented by Professor Carsten Sørensen. ABSTRACT There are over 5 billion mobile phone connections globally and a growing number of other mobile information technologies permeate all aspects of life. The more than 1 billion mobile phones in developing countries is rapidly coming close to matching the global total of 2 billion fixed Internet connections in 2008. It is estimated that 6 billion mobile phone connections will be reached by 2013. The mobile phone offers both a highly visible new technology that has found its way into everyday life and a domain for ferocious business development. The mobile phone has rapidly placed itself intimately close to a large proportion of the global population alongside keys and money. It is a technology that matters to people, and the combination of increasingly intelligent handsets, faster wireless bandwidth, and more complex server-side infrastructures (such as cloud computing), makes up for a potent globally distributed infrastructure. My talk will report on research conducted within the mobility@lse research unit at the London School of Economics since 2000. It will present some of the main findings regarding the social and business impact of the mobile revolution, for example, the re-negotiation and daily endeavour to manage a boundary-less world by cultivating boundaries. The mobile revolution has significantly contributed to the erosion of long-established boundaries for inter-personal interaction <b>...</b>
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"Mobile payments" is about as unsexy as technology buzzwords get. We're basically talking about phones and money. And it's hard enough to get people excited about money in the first place—unless you're receiving large sums of it, that is—let alone using a phone to make or spend it.

But it is exciting! Trust us. And there's a reason why you're going to be hearing a lot more about mobile commerce before this year is done.

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If you're one of those people who tend to lose their phone shortly after putting it down, then you'll want to read this. According to a new study, if you lose your smartphone, you have a 50/50 chance of getting it back. But chances are much higher -- nearly 100 percent -- that whoever retrieves it will try to access your private information and apps.

According to a study by Symantec, 96 percent of people who picked up the lost phones tried to access personal or business data on the device. In 45 percent of cases, people tried to access the corporate email client on the device.

"This finding demonstrates the high risks posed by an unmanaged, lost smartphone to sensitive corporate information," according to the report. "It demonstrates the need for proper security policies and device/data management."

Symantec called the study the "Honey Stick Project." In this case the honey on a stick consisted of 50 smartphones that were intentionally left in New York, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., San Francisco and Ottowa, Canada. The phones were deposited in spots that were easy to see, and where it would be plausible for someone to forget them, including food courts and public restrooms.

None of the phones had security features, like passwords, to block access. Each was loaded with dummy apps and files that contained no real information, but which had names like "Social Networking" and "Corporate Email" that made it easy for the person who found it to understand what each app did. Each phone also was loaded with programs to track what finders did with the devices, and to send that information to the researchers.

Among people who found the phones, 72 percent tried to access photos, 57 percent tried to open a file called "Saved Passwords," and 43 percent tried to open an app called "Online Banking." Most of the apps on the phones were protected by passwords, but the username and password fields were already filled out, so that users could simply press a button to access them. Well over half of the people who discovered the phones, 66 percent, clicked those buttons to try and start the programs. The fact that the finders had to click a button to access the apps indicates that their attempts were likely intentional.

"This might be considered to be an unethical access attempt," according to the study. Also disturbing, only half the people who found the phones ever tried to contact the rightful owner, even though the owner's phone number and email address were prominently listed in the phones' contact lists. "This finding highlights the fact that in many cases, regaining possession of lost device may be a losing battle," according to the study.

If this sends shivers down your spine, here are some tips for how to protect yourself:

--Always protect your phone with a password or a "draw to unlock" pattern.

--Use security software designed specifically for smartphones to lock up programs on your phone. Some of these programs can be used to help locate the phone, or to wipe its memory from remote locations.

--Don't lose your cell phone. This falls under the category of "Well, duh." Nobody loses a smartphone on purpose, obviously. But try to make sure you keep it in you pocket or purse when not in use.

--Companies that issue phones to their employees should make sure to train workers on security, and should secure every phone with passwords.

This article originally appeared on Credit.com.

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Orome1 writes "In Russia, most cell phone SIM cards are prepaid. One of the major Russian operators offers a legal service that allows anyone to transfer the prepaid amount of money from a SIM card to a bank account, a credit card, another cell phone number (via a text message) or to express money transfer service Unistream. This particular service is heavily misused by cyber crooks who use it to launder money collected through ransomware campaigns, mobile malware and SMS scam campaigns. Kaspersky Lab's Denis Maslennikov takes us though the steps of each of these types of scams and shares insights into the shady economy that has sprung up due to cyber criminals' need to get their hand on the collected money without leaving a direct trail."

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