Most internet users are likely to receive robocalls or bots that want to sell goods and services to users or get their attention for a cause or organization. (Credit: Thomas Hawk)
There’s an app for everything on the web. According to a recent estimate, 8.93 million mobile applications roam our planetary cyberspace. This according to a report by the RiskIQ platform which estimates that by 2025 the count of apps downloads will approach the 200 billion mark. Most apps have no practical use for professional digital citizens, as the greatest supply is in the realm of entertainment.
Yet, most internet users are likely to receive robocalls or bots that want to sell goods and services to users or get their attention for a cause or organization. Many times, for hacking. But fortunately, some apps help users identify unknown or generally blocked numbers that somehow reach a mobile phone.
BLOCKERS – The best blocking apps should notify when they stop a call, in case a user wants to call back to maybe vent. The application should describe the number of anonymous calls in real time and automatically block spam or prevent falling into malicious traps. Also create a list of blockers so that the next time a protection message will be automatically read, falsely claiming that the number is disconnected.
One of the most popular apps is TrapCall, available for iOS and Android devices. Its platform promises users to take back their privacy and detect who is behind a No Caller ID, Restricted and Unknown number. Also, to stop unwanted spam calls from robocalls and telemarketers. Good blockers should also require callers to identify themselves and let the user record the call before allowing the call to go through.
IDENTIFIER — There are also caller ID apps. One is Truecaller. It not only identifies spammers and strange calls, but also SMS messages from any part of the world. The caller ID feature displays the caller’s number on the recipient’s phone before answering the call, as well as the name, location, and more caller information when available. It should differentiate between an unknown, unsolicited caller or an important call. Privacy is protected. Both apps mentioned above follow Google Play and Apple’s App Store guidelines, which prohibit apps from downloading customer directories to make them searchable or public.
FREEOS – All the best blocking or identifying apps charge a monthly usage fee. But there are free ways to find out who just called a user’s phone. These apps are called “reverse phone lookup sites”. The list includes CocoFinder, Spokeo, PeopleFinders, Truecaller, CellRevealer, Truthfinder, and Zlookup. Truth seeking, for example, can be used to verify a caller’s real name, location, background information, phone number, address and many other elements. These other two, Spy Dialer and Spytox have evocative names about clandestine intelligence services, but that’s for branding, not scaring. These free services offer basic caller ID. Further research or protection functions require payment.
SPYWARE — Internet users around the world fall prey to spam, robocalls and privacy trespassing. Spyware companies like RCS Labs make it clear that their customer base is comprised of law enforcement agencies that use surveillance software. The list of intrusions includes business executives, human rights activists, journalists, academics and government officials. Some spyware platforms even impersonate legitimate companies, such as ISPs and smartphone manufacturers. Their malware can disable a data connection and text a link to retrieve the target ID. A user is usually prompted to download an app when opening a message, but the link is malicious. The other spyware trick is to disguise itself as a messaging app such as Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp. Google has tracked commercial spyware tools for years and published a blog post detailing “government-backed actors” in Europe. Happy reading.