We’ve all seen the Bourne movies where he uses different burner phones and sim cards to minimize his chances of getting caught. To some, this skill may sound like something only government operatives might use when working abroad. Using burner phones, however, is becoming more common with people who travel abroad more regularly, whether that is for government work or leisurely travel. We’ve briefly touched on burner phones HERE.
When I traveled over to Germany back in March for work, my co-worker had several burner phones in his bag, that he used regularly both in the US and abroad due to the sensitive work of a previous life. A lot of the skills that I witnessed by my co-worker were confirmed when reading my last book, The Terminal List. The following excerpt from the book highlights some basic rules to follow if you want to pick up a burner phone and reduce your electronic footprint.
“I called you from my neighbor’s landline last night, and my cell phone is back in Coronado. They probably don’t know that we connected overseas so they won’t be onto you unless I lead them to you, which I promise I won’t do. Find yourself a used iPhone, maybe from Craigslist, where you have no relationship with the seller. Pay cash for it, toss the SIM card, and restore it to factory settings. You’ll need to set up a burner email to get an anonymous iTunes account. Do that from a library computer or one not associated with you….
Use cash to buy an iTunes gift card so you can download Signal. It’s a private messaging service from the app store.
It’s basically a texting app. You’ll need cell service to get Signal, so just use a prepaid SIM bought with cash. After that, don’t use cell again. Only use it over public WiFi. Also, download a VPN from Private Internet Access. Pay for it with a gift card you buy with cash. Keep WiFi turned off when you are not actively using it. In fact, keep the phone turned off when you are not using it. Try to check at least once a day. They can still get to you if they are specifically targeting you, but this will make it more difficult.”
If you still want to reduce your electronic footprint with your existing phone, you can, it just won’t be as secure as going all in. If you want to use your iPhone or smartphone without purchasing another phone as a ‘burner’, then you can implement the following practices.
- Leave your cell service antenna turned off. You can either go into your settings to disable the cellular service or put your phone in airplane mode. Leave the cellular service off unless you need to make a phone call. You can always use a VoIP service over WiFi for calling too.
- Use WiFi whenever possible to browse the web, text or check email.
- Turn your phone off when not in use. I know in the world of connectivity we live in, this is not an easy thing to do, but it will help.
I hope this article was of interest whether you require this type of communication, or just like the entertainment aspect of the subject.