Warning to all Sprint mobile users
October 22, 2013
All across America, people who have Sprint service on their iPhones and other mobile devices are receiving repeated calls from the number “865-6696″ without any area code. Sprint message boards are full of thousands of complaints of people experiencing this issue, but no one seems to understand the true reason why these calls are being made.
When the call is answered, no one is there. Attempting to call the number back does not work. Spelled out on the phone keypad, the number “865-6696″ spells out “UNKNOWN,” adding to the mystery of where these calls are originating or what their purpose might be.
Comments on message boards such as 800notes.com say things like this:
I receive 3 or 4 calls per day from this number… with no area code. just 865-6696. i’ve not answered it for fear of who might be on the other end. i’m not sure how to report this and get this number to stop calling me. VERY aggravating!
Investigation turns up frightening possibility of surveillance code payload
After hearing about this issue from several people I know personally, I decided to investigate.
First, a scan of the message boards indicates this issue is limited almost exclusively to iPhone owners using Sprint. Some people on the message boards have incorrectly assumed these calls must be from telemarketers, but if that were the case, it wouldn’t be limited to just iPhone users, as telemarketers have no way to know what hardware device exists at their target phone numbers. Furthermore, even after blocking this number, people continue to receive calls from it, confirming that these calls are exempted from call blocking.
Here’s another fascinating point: I’ve been able to confirm over and over again that these calls are being placed with foreknowledge of the exact hardware of the target phone number. The originator of these calls, in other words, knows in advance that the user has an iPhone and not an Android or other mobile device.
As user “JMillz” describes in his comment post:
I have an iPhone 4 with Sprint and I just started receiving these calls a couple days ago. I have been reading you guys’ posts on here and we pretty much ALL have the same things in common: All with Sprint AND ALL have either iPhones 4 or 4s’… I’ve been getting calls from this number non-STOP! When I do pick it up they just either hang up or its dead air and then hangs up. VERY annoying! I opened up a case with Sprint tech support and they had NO solutions for this issue other than to do a master reset (which would just erase all media in my phone not backed up to icloud) or change my number! Not cool at all.
This all but proves these are not random telemarketing calls. The calls are clearly being placed by an organization that knows who owns iPhones and wishes to get them to answer their phones.
NSA surveillance Trojan Horse installed if you answer?
To find out, I called a contact I’ve known for a few years who is an expert in cyber security. He’s been one of the people closely watching the Edward Snowden disclosures and the NSA surveillance issue. He obviously asked me not to reveal his identity, so I won’t.
He told me that this has been going on for over a year and that he believes the phone calls are a vector by which the NSA can install surveillance code onto iPhone devices but only if you answer the phone. Once you answer, a so-called “digital payload” is quickly downloaded to your phone while you are saying “Hello? Hello?”
“The digital payload requires several seconds for a complete download,” my contact told me. “If you hang up before the download completes, your device won’t be infected [because the code cannot be executed].” The code is carried with the call, I was told, as a parallel digital stream encoded into the call data itself, in much the same way that secret messages can be encoded into JPEG images. Apple deliberately built in this “back door” payload receiving system, a fact which has been confirmed by releases of information from former NSA worker Edward Snowden that show how Apple, Google, Microsoft and other corporations deliberately built in back doors for NSA surveillance.
The purpose of this digital payload, I was told, is not known, but it may be Trojan Horse code that attaches “bread crumbs” to your phone calls that allow the NSA to more easily locate, track and archive your phone calls, text messages and mobile web surfing activity.