Your Phone Can be Tracked: 10 Digital/ Cyber Safety Tips & Privacy Measures to Save You

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Tracking is a complex thing to the ray people but for cyber experts vice versa is true the following are the common ways that are employed to track mobile devices.

In some decades we have witnessed an increase in cases alleging the kidnapping and harm of individuals being politicians, business personnel, or Political activists have been the victims of these alleged situations. Around these alleged cases, the victims or witnesses claim that the abdications are done by unknown people.

The questions that come to the mind of every person who reads these case stories is how these people find the victims. Or how they locate the victims either in their homes or workplaces. This article outlines 5 Ways that your mobile devices can be used as tracking devices to locate you as well as 10 safety measures that will help to keep you safe and protect your privacy.

The recent breaking story of a young entrepreneur named Edgar Mwakalebela mostly known as Sativa on X (formerly Twitter) alleged being abducted by unknown people. After I heard that information it made me interested in writing this article to share about online personal safety but also how to protect yourself in the digital world.

Maybe to encourage more understanding of Digital safety let me include more common terms that can be joined together that is Cyber Safety, Online Safety, Internet Safety and electronic safety (E-Safety) all of these terms refer to being aware of the threats that you could face them when you are using the internet or engaging in online activities.

Read Related: Cybersecurity in Tanzania: Navigating the Digital Landscape Safely

As I mentioned earlier wherever you call it online safety, digital safety e-safety or whatever they all mean the same thing. All of these terms are concerned with risks associated with Cyberspace or the digital world. Therefore, by ensuring we are using online activities safely we can reduce and mitigate risks such as Malware, Hackers, Social engineering threats, being tracked, data breaches, fraud and other criminal activities.

How People Can Be Tracked Via Their Mobile Devices

GPS Tracking

This is the most known method that is used by all law enforcement agencies or any personnel to locate the location of a person they want. In general, GPS is the abbreviation of Global Positioning System. This system uses machines known as satellites that have been sent to outer space to facilitate GPS systems. These satellites were first innovated and released by the US government via its Ministry of Defence in the 1980s for defence issues before extended uses.

GPS satellites cycle the earth twice a day in a precise orbit and transmit unique signals and orbital parameters that allow GPS devices to decode and compute the precise location of the satellite then the GPS device receivers use this information and trilateration to calculate the user’s exact location.

Then if you were wondering how your mobile phones are tracked the answer is that today’s mobile phones have built-in GPS and it is not limited to mobile phones but even automobiles. These are made purposely to calculate your 2D position that is Latitude and Longitude.

To find where you are, the GPS device should be directed to three satellites that will give the attitude which makes the shape of 3D then will give the device the ability to identify where you are based on the time the signals are received by the GPS device. But once recognized where you are, the GPS decoder will search immediately the signals from more than eight satellites to measure and identify the trip Distance you are, your Movements, Track, distance to destination also sunrise and sunset and bearing.

Therefore, Since today’s GPS decoders are very accurate is the reasons why they opt for this method to track via your phone and everything starts by identifying your mobile IP address.

Cell Phone Tower Triangulation

Most of us have been using our cell phones to communicate with our friends. But did you ever ask how the sound waves transfer from your cell phone to another? The answer is that there are cell phone towers that have been built specially to help transmit these sound waves.

In general, when you turn your phone on it communicates with the nearby cell phone tower to provide network signals. Once the tower receives the request from your phone it immediately connects with your phone with a strong signal and can interact with other cell phone towers at once. The nearby tower that has already offered your device with strong signals shares your IP with the other two towers of which they make a triangle figure and put you at the centre.

Therefore, Cell phone triangulation, also known as cell tower triangulation, measures the time it takes for a signal from a phone to reach various towers to determine the location of the phone. After calculating the distance, this delay provides a reasonably precise location for the phone.

Wi-Fi Positioning (WPS, WiPS, WFPS)

If a person tells you that Wi-Fi can be used to detect your location you could be wondering how is that possible. Sure, it is possible to locate where you are via Wi-Fi Networks. In general, Wi-Fi Positioning (WPS, WiPS, WFPS) is a geolocation system that uses the features of the nearby Wi-Fi network to detect the location of the mobile device.

When we talk about detecting location many of you think about the Global Positioning Navigation System (GPS/GPNS) and forget that the GPS are accurate in outdoor lactation detection. Wi-Fi positioning is a technique used to locate the connected device’s location by using the existing infrastructure which is Wi-Fi access points (APAs).

Having said you will think that you need to connect to the Wi-Fi so you can be detecting the answer is negative and the truth is that your device is only needed to be able to listen to the Wi-Fi signals so can be detected.

How Can You Stay Away From Being Tracked to Ensure Your Safety and Data Privacy/safety?

In a short discussion hereinabove it’s my hope you have learned different ways that are popularly used to track the location of individuals, the question is how can we avoid it and ensure we are safe all the moments here are the tips that will keep you safe:

  1. Make sure you have disabled GPS and Location services in your mobile phone and other devices along with you to avoid apps from accessing your location history and data.
  2. Avoid exposing yourself to public Wi-Fi networks as they can be used to locate the device you have carried. This goes together with disenabling your phone from automatically detecting Wi-Fi networks as I said earlier it does not need you to be connected but only the ability of your device to listen to the Wi-Fi signals can be located.
  3. Use VPNs, and make sure you are connected to the VPS at all times you get online. VPNs are the Privacy tools which Mask your IP Address when you are connected to the network.
  4. Update the operating systems of your devices regularly to gain new security features and patches.
  5. Use two-factor authentication and a strong password in all your accounts.
  6. Limit app permissions including access to your location history, and read your files and contact information. Use any other necessary measures that will help to keep you safe like turning airplane mode across your mobile devices, not opening suspicious links shared by friends or any unanimous persons, and not downloading files shared by friends because doing so may include malicious codes that will gain control over your device and cause you to be tracked.

Safeguarding your data is the duty that starts with you. Do not live recklessly and expect that there is a person responsible for keeping your data safe unless he registered as a data collector and controller. It is my opinion that every person be responsible for his personal information before we shift these duties to the government or any other institution or organization. STAY SAFE!

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