The location data we give up in using certain apps can be used by third parties to track our movements and infer our behaviors, preferences and beliefs. While this information may be relatively harmless when leveraged by a retailer or investor, there’s no telling who may ultimately gain access. In the hands of a malicious actor, such insights can facilitate physical tracking, blackmail, the outing of deeply held secrets and more.
Verizon recently released its annual Mobile Security Index, an always-anticipated snapshot of experiences and attitudes among senior professionals responsible for their organization’s mobile security. This year’s results crystallize what we at Privoro have known for some time: that mobile devices are as indispensable to modern business as they are challenging to protect. Let’s dig into the highlights.
In September 2019, attribution was given to Israel for the IMSI catchers discovered in Washington, D.C. two years earlier, shining light on the prevalence of these types of spying devices. Once used solely by law enforcement as a way of finding the international mobile subscriber identity (IMSI) linked to a criminal suspect’s SIM card for investigative purposes, now just about anyone can acquire or build an IMSI catcher to intercept a target’s communications. With such low barriers to entry, it’s no longer just the bad guys who need to be worried about these devices.
I’m pleased to announce that Privoro’s agreement with the U.S. Air Force was recently expanded in both size and scope. Valued at $37.1 million over four years, the expanded agreement puts SafeCase on a clear and defined path to become the trusted platform for secure mobility throughout the federal government.
CEO walks out of nondescript office building accompanied by COLLEAGUE. CEO pulls smartphone out of her purse to study a restaurant’s website. Her smartphone’s status bar blinks briefly to indicate a change in cellular connection status.
So far this year, the surreptitious capture of audio and visual data via smartphone cameras and microphones has negatively impacted the world’s richest person and a beloved trillion-dollar company. It’s safe to say that awareness of this issue has reached the mainstream, increasingly forcing individuals, enterprises and product makers to change how they operate. To see how the trajectory of smartphone surveillance has changed even in the last several months, I think it would be helpful to look back at my 2019 predictions as a starting point.
Think of the last time you received a sensitive piece of information. Perhaps it was news of a highly anticipated project at work finally getting the green light, or maybe a not-for-public-consumption update about a friend’s pregnancy. Now recall what you did with that information. Did you keep it to yourself or did you share it with a significant other or trusted friend?
I’m happy to share that the Air Force, through its Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program, has awarded Privoro a prototyping contract for our government smartphone security solutions. You can learn more by reading our press release announcing the contract.
In the last 12 months, the threat of compromised smartphone cameras and microphones has taken on bigger real estate in the public consciousness, transforming from a largely abstract fear into a real, widespread and potentially devastating problem. The bad news is that this problem will get worse before it gets better. The good news is that security-centric organizations are looking for ways to proactively defend against this threat. So what will the next 12 months hold in store? Below, I’ve outlined six mobile security predictions for the coming year.
We started Privoro in 2013 not merely as a company, but as a philosophy: that security and privacy need not be casualties of our hyper-connected, sensor-driven, mobile-first world. That we should be able to trust and control our electronic devices. That our information is ours alone, and we should be able to control how it is accessed and shared.