"Just turn it off" and Airplane Mode.

"Just turn it off" and Airplane Mode.

A comment that comes up often for us on Twitter from the common troll (who apparently have thought this through more than the inventors of the product, and all of our high security tech and military customers who use it) is that an expensive Faraday sleeve is useless; turning off your phone or putting it in Airplane Mode is all it takes to disable location tracking, microphones, and cameras.  This popular misconception can deceive uninformed readers who'd like to believe it was this simple.  We'd like to believe it as well, but it’s not true, and the potential consequences are serious.  So, we created the solution.

At the essence of the need for a Faraday sleeve and physical blocking mechanisms for the cameras and microphones, is that software solutions to privacy problems are not to be trusted.  As one example,  Apple, Facebook and Google have all been recently caught blatantly ignoring whether or not a user turned off location tracking, and took that data regardless.  These are companies that have to pretend to play by rules.  Hackers and stalkers don't.

If your hotel room had a camera facing your bed or bathroom, would you trust the front desk when they tell you "don't worry, it’s off", or would you cover it up?

Unfortunately, this goes not just for the microphones, GPS, and camera access, but for Airplane Mode and "on/off" itself.  

Even when (never) your phone can be trusted to be free of malware, Airplane Mode doesn't approach being a serious method of security.  "Find my phone" works in Airplane Mode, as do your connected Bluetooth speakers, for example.  Turning off the entire phone is a step further, but your phone is not fully off until its battery is removed. As a real world example beyond Twitter screenshots, high security and military friends and customers report that prior to any meeting, a phone being in the “off” state is not sufficient, they then have to be placed into metal (Faraday) boxes. 

To worry that a phone in its off state is still tracking you may seem extreme, but it is a very real concern to many- especially any who have experienced "stalkerware" or those in security or journalism who are familiar with malware such as Pegasus, which grants full access to all components of your phone to people who can then use that access for blackmail or physical harm via your location. The gravity of this is why we don’t let “just turn it off” comments go unaddressed. 

This leaves us few options.  We could throw our sledgehammered phones into the ocean, or leave them at home in a drawer all day, but we recognize their utility and many of us cannot afford the luxury of not owning a smartphone.  The Ghost Sleeve gives you the power of a smartphone when you want it, and removes the tracking when you don't.



On recent iPhones, Bluetooth, Near Field Communication (NFC), and Ultra-wideband (UWB) keep running after power off, and all three wireless chips have direct access to the secure element. As a practical example what this means to security, we demonstrate the possibility to load malware onto a Bluetooth chip that is executed while the iPhone is off.”



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