How to Find Out Who Is Bugging Your Cell Phone

By Brian Cleary

With rapidly expanding technology, it seems those without a cell phone in today's world are the exception. With such wide use of cellular phones and the increasing market share of high powered "smart" phones, it is an obvious choice to exploit this widespread use for data collection by criminals or authorities. Since many of us are on our cell phones multiple times per day, it should be relatively easy to figure out if something isn't quite right with our beloved portable electronics. However, it may be difficult to pinpoint the culprit.

Step 1

Keep track of your battery life. If you begin noticing your battery life is dramatically falling in a unusually short period of time, this may indicate something is going on when the phone is seemingly turned off or "hibernating."

Step 2

Pay attention to the warmth of your phone. The vast majority of cell phones emit some heat, especially when being heavily used. Usually this heat tapers off after the activity is completed. Phones that are unusually warm in between data/phone usage should be considered suspicious. Watch when and where the phone heats up, as this may indicate who is behind the eavesdropping.

Step 3

Listen for abnormal buzzing sounds. The majority of worldwide cell phones are on a GSM platform. GSM phones produce a constant buzzing sound in radio speakers when a call or data is actively being transmitted. If you hear this buzzing sound near radio speakers and the phone is seemingly shut off or not in use, it may be an area of concern. This is especially true if it always happens at a specific location or near a specific person.

Step 4

Pay attention to your billing. If you are in the habit of not checking your phone bill, there may be information that indicates tampering with your phone. If you notice unusual charges to your account at times you know you weren't using the phone, it may indicate it tampering and who may have done the tampering.

Step 5

Watch out for random screen flashes and unusual text messages appearing on your phone. This could potentially give you an indication of who is tampering with your device.

Step 6

Update your phone's firmware often. Make a habit of turning your phone off and on several times per week to update the firmware. Cellular phone firmware is easily manipulated to function well outside the normal parameters of phone usage. If you believe your phone is not updating correctly, see your cellular provider immediately.

Tips & Warnings

  • As technology increases and we move into mostly 3G and 4G networks, it will be harder and harder to detect if your phone has been subject to tampering.
  • Determining if your phone is bugged at all is much easier than finding out who is doing the bugging. You may never find out who is tampering with your phone. They may have made sure you never find out in the first place!