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

SearchCompliance

SearchSecurity

  • cyber attack

    A cyber attack is any attempt to gain unauthorized access to a computer, computing system or computer network with the intent to ...

  • backdoor (computing)

    A backdoor is a means to access a computer system or encrypted data that bypasses the system's customary security mechanisms.

  • post-quantum cryptography

    Post-quantum cryptography, also called quantum encryption, is the development of cryptographic systems for classical computers ...

SearchHealthIT

SearchDisasterRecovery

  • risk mitigation

    Risk mitigation is a strategy to prepare for and lessen the effects of threats faced by a business.

  • 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 ...

SearchStorage

  • cloud SLA (cloud service-level agreement)

    A cloud SLA (cloud service-level agreement) is an agreement between a cloud service provider and a customer that ensures a ...

  • NOR flash memory

    NOR flash memory is one of two types of non-volatile storage technologies.

  • RAM (Random Access Memory)

    RAM (Random Access Memory) is the hardware in a computing device where the operating system (OS), application programs and data ...

Close