Browse Definitions :
Definition

burner phone

Contributor(s): Ivy Wigmore

A burner is an inexpensive mobile phone that is designed for temporary use, after which it may be discarded. Burners are purchased with prepaid minutes and without a contract.

In actuality, although prepaid phones are often called burners, it's more likely that the handsets will be kept and the minutes topped up when they run out. Only people with extreme needs for privacy are likely to use actual burners. Many people became familiar with the concept of burner phones from watching The Wire, a popular television series in which drug dealers used burners to communicate and then got rid of them to prevent tracking by the police. Paying for the phones with cash rather than a credit card and having no contract with a service provider meant that there was no record connecting the user to the phone number to begin with. If the user suspected that the number was compromised they could just dump the phone and purchase a new one, which would have a new number.

These days, most relatively law-abiding people have smartphones, and cellphone numbers are increasingly being used as unique identifiers, connecting user data across multiple databases. Moreover, phone numbers aren't subject to privacy requirements in the same way that social security numbers and credit card numbers are, so they tend to be shared fairly readily. As a result, mobile number privacy is a growing security issue.

One simple method of increasing mobile security is the use of a burner phone app or service (rather than an actual device), which provides a temporary phone number that can be provided instead of the user's actual cell number.

This was last updated in December 2016

Continue Reading About burner phone

Join the conversation

1 comment

Send me notifications when other members comment.

Please create a username to comment.

Where is the best place to get a burner phone? Can the phone number be kept private?  A relative of mine needs this for safety for herself and her family. I have never been faced with an issue like this, but now it is close and personal and I want to help to protect her from a dangerous X.  Any information is appreciated.  Thank you.
Cancel

SearchCompliance

  • risk assessment

    Risk assessment is the identification of hazards that could negatively impact an organization's ability to conduct business.

  • PCI DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard)

    The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) is a widely accepted set of policies and procedures intended to ...

  • risk management

    Risk management is the process of identifying, assessing and controlling threats to an organization's capital and earnings.

SearchSecurity

SearchHealthIT

SearchDisasterRecovery

  • call tree

    A call tree is a layered hierarchical communication model that is used to notify specific individuals of an event and coordinate ...

  • Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS)

    Disaster recovery as a service (DRaaS) is the replication and hosting of physical or virtual servers by a third party to provide ...

  • cloud disaster recovery (cloud DR)

    Cloud disaster recovery (cloud DR) is a combination of strategies and services intended to back up data, applications and other ...

SearchStorage

Close