Sunday, August 15, 2010

Spoofing Calls and Texts: The Dangerous Side of Services

Phone keypad
Image via Wikipedia
What many see as nice features and services, those who are a bit more security conscious see the potential for harm.
One such service is called spoofing.  This allows you to call someone using a completely fake phone number or any phone number you choose, and mask your identity even including faking your voice.
While this can be a useful service for those who need to mask their phone number for some reason, although it is simpler to just have your number show up as a Private Caller, you can also use this to impersonate someone else’s phone number.
Let’s say you want to lure someone to some destination.  You could easily call them with the phone number of the destination you want to lure them to, change your voice to that of the opposite gender, and tell them there is some kind of urgent reason for them to go to that location.
Would that person automatically call back the spoofed number you left to verify.  Maybe, maybe not.
Would there be any record that you did this?  How would it be found?
Personally, I see frightening potential for misuse of this kind of service.
You can also send a text message to any phone using the on-line text page for the various wireless carriers.
I tested it using Verizon’s texting page by sending text messages to myself from Lars’ phone number (Lars is one of our examiners.)  The messages were delivered with his name, but as “Unverified Sender”.  Would a child catch that distinction if the message came from “Mom” as an unverified sender?
If you are in a position to educate parents and kids about cell phone safety and text messaging safety, please let them know that this kind of stuff is possible.

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