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Can Walkie Talkie Radios Be Tracked or Hacked

Walkie talkie radios are one of the most popular ways of secure communication. We all have wondered to what extent our smartphones can be hacked and the facts point that anyone can know our location and conversations pretty easily. Hacking is something which has become commonplace in our times and finding any means of communication to protect us from it is necessary.

Many public safety departments are therefore opting for two way radios to stay away from any potential danger of hacking or tracking. A walkie talkie radio is called a transceiver which transmits a message and also receives a message. Usually thought of as a children’s plaything, it now offers directional communication for official purposes.

Search radio designs are used in multiple respects and are installed in vehicles but also for the use of an officer when attached to their uniforms. Different manufacturers are coming out with different designs to help with a secure channel of communication. It allows police officers to promptly report to a scene without any interference.

However, this does not mean that walkie talkies are immune to possible hacking. Recently there was news that some hackers had hacked into the frequency of the police department and were disrupting smooth functioning. In this article, we will try to understand the threat of radio hacking and whether it can be handled through the use of a two way radio.

How Frequently is Hacking a Danger?

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Hacking is a danger almost all the time because one can never predict when it is going to happen. But first we need to understand what hacking is and how it is different from scanning. Hacking is related to a person accessing the frequency for nefarious means.

Scanning is more common than hacking and harder to detect because people might just be listening in without you knowing. One does not know who is scanning the messages which is why a PL code is important for encryption. It reduces the number of people accessing the messages on the network.

So if somebody was scanning a police network, all the radios on that network can use appeal code for security. Hacking can also happen pretty easily when the walkie talkie is in use. Tracking is still very difficult because there is no way to know the exact location of the frequency. The radio waves used for communication can be easily observed by any interested party if security measures were not taken.

Scanning also happens intentionally when somebody is trying to tune their own radio and jumps into the frequency on which somebody else is operating. While the unintentional aspect does not count as hacking, somebody with malicious intentions can easily get access to sensitive information this way.

How Does Tracking Occur?

Unlike with smartphones that help in tracking the exact location of a device, walkie talkies are only able to pinpoint the general area from where the message is being transmitted. It becomes easy for any smart hacker to understand the general vicinity from where a particular radio of frequency is originating.

The tracking process becomes even easier when both the parties are active on the network at any given time. There is a higher chance that the general location can be triangulated and even accurately traced.

Can Hacking Be Prevented in Walkie Talkies?

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There are some ways through which tracking and hacking can be prevented on walkie talkie radios.

Choose a Reliable Vendor

We should mention the most obvious trick at the very beginning to help you out. The vendor from home you are buying and renting the radios should be well worst in keeping the network secure. Their technology should be created in a way to address the issues of third party interference.

There are many vendors that offer different ranges of products based on how much security a client demands. The type of two way radio for communication can also be somewhat customised to suit specific needs of the customer. So, if you are looking for radio rent, websites like walkie-talkie-hire.co.uk can help you out.

Go With Encryption

Encryption is a service where two people engaging in conversation will be the only people to hear the message. Encryption does not allow any third party to access the network. There is an Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) which can be applied to a particular radio frequency network. It is especially beneficial for the fire and police departments so that only officials can participate.

Go With Adequate Training

More often the not, hacking and tracking can be possible on a secure network due to incompetence of the users. If the individual on a network is not familiar with the use of a walkie talkie, they can unintentionally risk the confidentiality of the conversation.

While shifting to a two way radio system, it is important to train all the staff so that that communication is effective and efficient. It also helps in maximising the safety of the network and reduces the chances of hacking or scanning.

Only the Proper Equipment

One does not want to risk their security by opting for poorly manufactured equipment. It is important to choose a two way radio service provider who has a secure system to offer. The security features should be up to date and only the latest technology should be chosen. Settling for an older version with possible bugs, it is better to choose good quality radio equipment only.

The Takeaway

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Keeping the communication channel secure is not something which can be done easily but it is necessary amidst the prevailing unsafety. Police departments often operate on separate frequencies and unintentional accannong may be common. However, the use of encryption and the right tools can do wonders for the network on which sensitive information is being shared.

Whether one is buying or renting walkie talkies, it should be done with the care for the type of technology and security features offered. A radio network should always be encrypted.


Ricardo is a freelance writer specialized in politics. He is with foreignpolicyi.org from the beginning and helps it grow. Email: richardorland4[at]gmai.com