Truecaller was developed by True Software Scandinavia AB, a privately held company in Stockholm, Sweden founded by Alan Mamedi and Nami Zarringhalam in 2009. It was initially launched on BlackBerry 1st July 2009. After good response from its users, it launched for other Mobile device OS.
As of September 2012 the app had five million users performing 120 million searches of the telephone number database every month. As of January 2013 it reached 10 million users. By December 2014 Truecaller had reached 100 million users worldwide.
Truecaller – How it Works
According to Nami Zarringhalam (one of the innovators), TrueCaller connects to white and yellow pages all over the world which means if there is public data available in your location, TrueCaller will try to access it. However in most countries of the world, this data isn’t publicly available and it is definitely not free.
So to access and distribute this data we decided to crowd-source the information. But in a bid to secure the privacy of our users and their data we made it so that you can only search the crowd-sourced data by already having the number and then getting access to the name. This means is that the phone number is effectively turned into the key needed to access the vault for information associated to that number.
Security and Privacy issues associated with TrueCaller
On 17 July 2013, Truecaller servers were allegedly hacked into by the Syrian Electronic Army. The group claimed on its Twitter handle to have recovered 459 GBs of database, primarily due to an older version of WordPress installation on the servers.
On 18 July 2013, it issued a statement on its blog stating that their website was indeed hacked, but claimed that the attackers did not disclose any passwords or credit card information.
The story start from the login screen. If you have already used the App, you’ll notice that it only allows either Facebook, Yahoo! or Gmail to access the app. Reason being that they are the most widely used social networking sites that contain a lot of phone numbers and other contact details.
So when you login, your entire contacts including phone numbers, contact names, email IDs will be uploaded to a secure Truecaller server. These are organized into records and each number will be assigned a Truecaller ID. When someone searches the number using Truecaller number search, the caller ID associated with that number will be displayed.
So TrueCaller basically just steals your contact list from your phone and stores in its servers. When you ask for it to find an unknown number, then it compares it with the list of all stolen contact lists from around the world and then find out the name of the phone number holder.