What is Stingray and Are You at Risk of Being Tracked?

Back to Blog  •  Posted on July 22, 2014 by admin

Every day, technology is updated with more advanced features than it had the day before. With cell phones and the internet, tracking a person’s location has never been easier. There is no shortage of tracking tools out there, but the most recent and effective tracking device is Stingray. Stingray works by simulating cell phone towers so that calls can be traced back to the user.

This device is currently used by the police and the FBI, and is surrounded by controversy and legal disputes regarding a person’s right to privacy. What makes Stingray so controversial is that anyone with a cell phone that is turned on is at risk of having their information hijacked and used to trace them to their location.

At first glance, Stingray doesn’t appear to be any more intrusive than a GPS device. The problem is that with Stingray, the scale of information that is obtained is widespread. When using the device, the user doesn’t just zone in on one single cell phone, but all cell phones in the device’s range. This technology allows one device access to hundreds, if not thousands, of people’s cell phone data that it isn’t legally authorized to obtain. Cell phones work by sending radio signals to cell towers.

Stingray acts as a cell tower, only instead of being a tool that sends and receives data like a cell tower, it intercepts the signals from the tower and traces them back to the cell phone’s point of origin. This allows the operator of the device access to a person’s cell phone data, which can then used to track the location of the phone.This information makes Stingray seem like a completely non-restricted technology, but there are ways to tell if your cell phone is being tracked by it.

Some indicators that Stingray is tracking your phone, or if it’s being used nearby on someone else’s phone, is that your battery power will be used up more quickly because the device needs your phone operating at maximum power to work. Furthermore, if your phone is off, Stingray can’t access the data on it. So unless you absolutely need to have your phone on for any reason, it’s safer for your security and privacy if it’s turned off when you’re not using it.