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 predictions for the coming year.
Last month, we released our second-generation product, the Privoro SafeCase, which is compatible with the iPhone 7 and 8. While SafeCase can be used by organizations for a variety of use cases, smartphone counter-surveillance protection is a core functionality. The case blocks the host smartphone’s cameras and actively masks each of the microphones with randomized noise. At Privoro, we believe that only physical, verifiable protections can overcome the threat of hijacked smartphone sensors targeting national security agencies, publicly traded companies and high-profile individuals.
CES, that mind-boggling and exhausting annual tribute to tech innovations has changed. More than 25 years ago the event was dominated by the wireless players and Microsoft with a wink and a nod to Detroit. Over time the show has shifted from the pinnacle venue for tech companies to unveil their splashy new consumer products to the place to experience nascent technologies.
How many of us have shared secrets, disciplined our children, sought council on how to address a work or family issue, discussed sensitive financial challenges or had a private moment with our children or loved ones in the presence of our smartphones? Most of us? All of us? These are common occurrences in our daily lives which typically happen behind closed doors due to the sensitive nature of the information being discussed or the actions occurring. People say, “you never know what goes on behind closed doors”, until now.
You either know somebody or it has happened to you – you have a conversation around your smartphone, check your social media or news feed, and boom, the topics of your conversation are being advertised on your smartphone. Most people’s reaction is usually some combination of “WTF?!?” and “Is my phone really listening in on me?” This isn’t new news, but mobile espionage (the modern catch phrase for smartphones listening, watching and tracking your every movement without you knowing) is certainly getting discussed a lot more, and on many levels.
You can now add Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore) to the growing list of government officials and entities urging national security advisors to provide a higher level of security for government smartphones.
The topic of smartphone hacking isn’t likely to make it into Monday morning watercooler conversation. That is of course, unless you are a security professional and the very survival of your organization may hang on understanding it and protecting against it.
In today’s digital-driven world, just about everything we do creates a data trail that can live forever. Clicking on a website, opening the garage door, adjusting the temperature in our houses, taking a rideshare to the airport, making a dinner reservation, scanning our boarding passes, “liking” a photo, recording a television show, sending a text to a client, making a request into a digital assistant … all create an unwitting data trail. That data is stored, analyzed, brokered, distributed, parsed, combined and attributed to individuals, companies and nation states.