There are a couple of different ways how to tack a precise location of a mobile phone and his user. The most widely spread are using its built-in GPS module, or cell tower triangulation. It doesn’t even need to be sending out GPS coordinates — communicating at all with a cell tower could expose you. But how that technology works?
First of all,by comparing the signal strength of your cell phone on multiple cell towers, someone looking for you can approximate your location with triangulation. This requires access to data about the base stations of your carrier and their coordinates, which should keep it out of reach for criminalsthe . There are lots of such data bases on the Internet, opnecellid.org or location-api.com for example. And the point here in that, that the more bases that man has – the more accurate the results will be. By the way, the accuracy of such a tracking technique is not really high. It will be 150-300 meters in densely populated areas, where there are lots of cell towers and 2-5 kilometers in rural areas. Luckily, it is impossible to get more accurate location with only a cell tower triangulation, GPS will be required.
So, it will be far easier to locate your phone, if it is hacked, or compromised with a virus. We recommend to always check permission to Android users, because lots of apps require permissions for base stations tracking.
Finally, if the coordinates of the closest cell towers are known – it is not hard to calculate the location of the phone between three closest cell towers, using the signal power of each of them. Also, you should know that data transmission speeds of an ordinary GSM, or CDMA network lets evildoers to refresh the data every 10-15 seconds, so it is almost a live tracking.
Despite such an apparent complexity, that base stations tracking technique is rather widely spread and popular, because it lets to track all the phones, it doesn't matter of they have a GPS or GLONASS module. Unfortunately, there is no way to make sure that no one will try to use such a tracking against you and the only way to protect yourself from that is using a decent jammer, which won't let your mobile device to connect the base stations. Unfortunately even if you will turn your smartphone off, it still may be tracked, or turned on remotely.