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Is your own mobile phone spying on you ?


Posted on Thursday, 8 October, 2015 | Comment icon 63 comments

Are smartphones being tapped ? Image Credit: CC BY-SA 3.0 Praxis Films / Laura Poitras
NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden has claimed that governments can take control of anyone's smartphone.
During an interview with the BBC's current affairs documentary series Panorama, the former CIA employee described how world governments including the US and the UK have the ability to take over a mobile phone by doing nothing more than sending a specially crafted text message.

The toolset needed to do this, which Snowden calls the "Smurf Suite", enables authorities to hijack the phone's microphone, camera and other facilities to monitor what the device's owner is doing.

There is also allegedly a function that hides the fact that the phone has been tampered with meaning that most of the people affected will be completely oblivious to the intrusion and powerless to stop it.

"For example, if you wanted to take the phone in to get it serviced because you saw something strange going on or you suspected something was wrong, it makes it much more difficult for any technician to realize that anything's gone amiss," said Snowden.

The computer professional and privacy activist, who famously leaked classified documents from the US National Security Agency back in 2013, made similar claims earlier this year when he stated that he doesn't carry a smartphone because of the backdoors installed in the software.

Whether such a mechanism really exists in these devices however remains a matter of some debate and even if it were possible for authorities to compromise a phone like this the chances of any given law-abiding individual being monitored are likely to be extremely small.

It certainly does raise questions though over just how secure our smartphones actually are.

Source: Independent | Comments (63)

Tags: Mobile Phones, Edward Snowden

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #54 Posted by Use your brain on 2 December, 2015, 0:28
It is no conspiracy theory that a phone can be hacked with a text, and logic would tell us that of course it happens when deemed necessary. It is a slippery slope on how to dictate when this sort of thing would be appropriate,and understandably it has people upset. http://fortune.com/2015/07/27/stagefright-android-vulnerability-text/ Apple has been going toe-to-toe with the NSA over offering encryption services to it's members without having a backdoor, which should tell you that the NSA has a backdoor into Apple products as well. http://www.techrepublic.com/article/apple-fighting-the-us-gover... [More]
Comment icon #55 Posted by noodledreamz on 23 January, 2016, 18:07
Snowden did the world a huge favour and pretty much everyone now seems to have either forgotten how much the governements are spying on us ot just do not care.Regarding mobile phones I use mine less and less and hopefuly will be mobile free soon.
Comment icon #56 Posted by DONTEATUS on 24 January, 2016, 21:57
Its all in what one Believes ! Believe me !
Comment icon #57 Posted by Hawkin on 24 January, 2016, 22:16
Its all in what one Believes ! Believe me ! I believe that Tony Romo will be abducted into the Football Hall Of Fame.
Comment icon #58 Posted by DONTEATUS on 29 January, 2016, 21:49
I believe that Tony Romo will be abducted into the Football Hall Of Fame. Now In a Perfect World We would of already won Three More Supper Bowls , But Jerry J. Is really an Alien and is Sucking the entire planet dry of Logic ! Just Saying!
Comment icon #59 Posted by Abaddonire on 29 January, 2016, 23:22
Snowden did the world a huge favour and pretty much everyone now seems to have either forgotten how much the governements are spying on us ot just do not care.Regarding mobile phones I use mine less and less and hopefuly will be mobile free soon. Sorry, but I am the opposite. Ditched landline, cable etc. and it cost me not a thought. Some "ebil gubmint" can monitor me all they like. They will find it utterly boring. Because I do not engage in illegal activity. If you fear scrutiny, you will have to explain exactly why it is that you fear scrutiny.
Comment icon #60 Posted by Otto von Pickelhaube on 30 January, 2016, 7:50
Sorry, but I am the opposite. Ditched landline, cable etc. and it cost me not a thought. Some "ebil gubmint" can monitor me all they like. They will find it utterly boring. Because I do not engage in illegal activity. If you fear scrutiny, you will have to explain exactly why it is that you fear scrutiny. Oh, not again. Not what again? Not "If you're not doing anything wrong, you'll have nothing to worry about" again.
Comment icon #61 Posted by SuperNova7 on 18 February, 2016, 0:43
Well, you can always tape a small piece of paper over your phone or laptop's camera.Take that government. Now, what to do about the microphone?
Comment icon #62 Posted by EEHC on 18 February, 2016, 5:36
Well, you can always tape a small piece of paper over your phone or laptop's camera.Take that government. Now, what to do about the microphone? It's not just the camera/microphone but the GPS tracking service of some apps being used and all the data collected overall about you.
Comment icon #63 Posted by DONTEATUS on 18 February, 2016, 16:43
I sure Hope So ! Cant wait to get Let into Area 51. And They will treat me Like a King when I tell them I know where The Little Aliens really are !.


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