This article will educate you on how you can protect yourself from people who, for some reason, want to eavesdrop on your conversations by way of your cordless phone. Now, it's best to remind you that eavesdropping on other people's phone conversations is punishable by law. It's absolutely illegal! That's true in most countries of the world. I'll be blunt—don't attempt it. Don't even think about it. (Like you need telling!)
Old and reliable land line is still alive and dandy, in spite of all of the unlimited minute cellphone plans available today. Most homes still choose to cling to the old standard home phone land line. Most likely as a backup, or for longer conversations, and for a more reliable signal.
Several decades ago, cordless phones are a luxury, but, now, have become a necessity for most of us who use land lines, but who also want the freedom to move around while having conversations. The 21st century man have become so accustomed to the wireless lifestyle of this generation that the thought of using phones with cords seems, now, only fitted to the Flintstones!
No doubt about it cordless phone technology has advanced and have made leaps and bounds in the past years. Earlier models used primitive AM radio-based systems with almost no security features, now, these gadgets are equipped with digital systems with built-in encryption tech to prevent prying ears.
Is your cordless phone secure? If it is, how secure is it?
Can someone easily listen in on your cordless phone conversations? Or how easy is it for anyone to do this? The intelligent answer to this question depends on what technology your phone is using. If it's analog, then your calls can be easily intercepted. Newer phones use digital technology which utilizes 'Digital Spread Spectrum' (DSS) or DECT. Unless your phone specifies this, then your phone is analog.
While it's true that cordless phone models with analog tech are the most vulnerable to prying ears, digital phones are not completely protected from third intruders listening in.
Research about security and phone hackers have managed to hack some implementations of DECT communications standard being used by most cordless phone makers. Unfortunately, DECT which was thought of as a quite secure system has lost it's glory when hackers were able to crack the encryption implementation being utilized by a number of cordless phone makers.
Hackers usually use software applications and specialized hardware to listen to conversations on cordless DECT-based phones. The tool they use is an open source device specially made for auditors and security researchers and included in legitimate security tool suites such as the BackTrack Linux-live security distribution. The hacking software, combined with hard to find and specialized DECT-capable wireless network cards, or sometimes universal software radios are perfect for intercepting and decoding conversations on certain models of vulnerable DECT-based cordless phones.
The DECT standard is now evolving the standard to improve security measures, but improvements take a little time to apply and make them available to the commercial market.
Guard against cordless phone hackers
Casual hackers or script kids can't just pursue DECT hacking. They can't use the tools without extremely specialized radio hardware. The radio hardware required to intercept DECT traffic is not cheap and is hard to locate and the new universal software radios available and capable intercepting DECT calls can be on the high end with regards prices.
Unless you're a immensely high value target that is guarding classified info or top secret files then the risk of hackers listening in on your calls using DECT-based cordless phone is most probably low. An illegal eavesdropper must find a way to be get close to your location to pick up a signal.
Are you worried about nosy neighbors listening in on your calls? Then you must upgrade your grandma's old cordless phone (most probably analog) to digitally based designed phone. This will prevent most incidental crosstalk eavesdroppers.
If you are super paranoid about someone listening to your calls, then you may want to use either a corded phone (yes, they are still existing) or encrypted VOIP services. Kryptos is highly recommended.
Now, let's look at the bottom line. As long as you are using a digital cordless phone manufactured in the past few years, hackers and other eavesdropping toms being able to listen to your calls are quite slim. Given the scarcity of the hardware required they are also expensive. Hackers are more predisposed to try hacking your voicemail, rather than listen to your calls.