Do Smartphones Spy on the Hardware Level?

I’ve been wondering for a while, and could not find any specific information about it. Some sources claim that for instance location tracking already happens on the firmware level, and there is nothing we can do about it. Is this the case?

You are probably right,
If the US military industry have sold the cellphone and gps technology to the public, it isn’t without reason.

It’s definitely possible.

Most phones have accessible RAM for all components, which includes the modem. No one can really tell what happens there, it’s basically a black box and a minefield of patents. Modems are computers themself and can run capable firmware, for example Linux.

Due to the patents, there’s no opensource modems.

WiFi Modules and their proprietary firmware are the next possible low-level risk for getting your data stolen without noticing.

There’s also a proof-of-concept that the gyroscope is sensible enough to act as a microphone or to locate persons in a room based on the vibration of their steps. There’s no special permissions needed for apps to read the gyroscope output.

The PinePhone and the Librem5 don’t share RAM with the modem but connect it via internal USB Bus. I’m not aware if any Android phone doing this, but possible they exist.

It is highly probable in my view. We may insulate ourselves from Corporate-Level Actors but State-Level Actors are a “horse of another color”. SIGINT and COMINT in the 21st Century are the digital battlefields.

Yes, firmwares can be insecure indeed.

There is work on making modems opensource.

1 Like

This topic was automatically closed after 60 days. New replies are no longer allowed.