Sunday, 17 February 2013

How to Track a Cell Phone by its Number?

Since I wrote about Free Mobile Phone Tracking, I have been getting queries from a lot of users on “how to track a mobile phone by just having it’s number?” This can be either malicious or well intentioned. But before we go into the details about all those websites which claim to track cell phones by just inputing a number, I would like to discuss few things.

Ethics of Cell phone tracking

Tracking someone else’s phone constitutes a major invasion of privacy, no doubts about it. This is irrespective of your intention being good or bad. Think again if this is the only way out for you, before proceeding further.

Idea behind Tracking Cell Phones

Most cell phone tracking methods work on the premise that the cell phone often “pings” the nearest cell operator’s towers.
GPS-enabled cell phones don’t require cell towers, and may be located anywhere in the world by satellite triangulation in a similar manner. In some countries like US, cell companies are mandated to keep track of cell phones to an accuracy of 100 feet, so that help can be made available in case of emergency.
So far, so good. But is there a way to actually track or locate a mobile phone? Let us check the possible solutions-

Tracking Websites

So, what about all those free and paid websites claiming to track down any mobile phone on click of a button? The one’s where you just need to put in the cell phone number in order to track it? Can they really track a phone?
In simple words, the answer is a big NO. I am yet to come across a website which actually works as claimed. Sites like “Reverse Phone Detective” or “Track the number” never seem to provide accurate location information.

Google the Phone number

If you’re trying to figure out the general location of the owner of the number, as opposed to real time tracking, a good old fashioned Google search will probably do the trick. The person might have been un-paranoid (or unaware) enough to have it publicly posted on a social networking site, along with other potentially location-identifying information. Again, this is a small chance, and it won’t work in real time.

Cell Phone Hacks

Theoretically and logically speaking tracking a cell phone is quite possible. Experienced hackers won’t have any problems with any of this. It is perfectly possible to track a cell phone’s location – after all, the cell operators do it – even if you just know the number and have had no physical access to it, without the user having any indication of this happening. While this hasn’t reached epidemic levels, the possibility is there.

Cell Phone Tracking Software

The only guaranteed way to really track a cell phone is through some sort of installed software on the device itself. There are lots of free and paid solutions for smartphone like Apple iPhones (iPhone Tracking solutions) and Blackberries, and even for general phones like Nokia S60 based phones.
However, this generally requires physical access to the phone, and consent of the user, both of which might be difficult to get, and probably defeats the point of what you’re trying to do here.
So tracking a cell phone by just having its number is not practical, unless you are/hire an experienced hacker, which isn’t a good idea anyway.



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