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.
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.
Ten years ago, I would have said that voice was an interface of the past. Yet today, the voice revolution is well underway and it’s becoming clear that voice will, in fact, be the next major interface. Just look at the proliferation and capabilities of virtual assistants and voice-activated devices, whether it’s asking Amazon’s Alexa-enabled Echo to turn down the thermostat, having Google Home recite your schedule for the day, or instructing Apple’s Siri to read your emails out loud. While nearly one in five Americans has access to a smart speaker today, Gartner predicts that 75 percent of households in the U.S. will have smart speakers by 2020.
We conducted our second annual survey on attitudes about smartphone privacy and security on August 1st, 2018. The results show a slightly elevated level of concern, but not as much as one might think given the endless stream of news reports about smartphone hacks and exploits. Check out the infographic of the results here.
Privoro recently attended the GSF Modern Warfare conference at Fort Bragg, home of the 82nd Airborne (I highly recommend researching the history of this division if you’re unfamiliar). Although our trip to Fort Bragg was a first, what wasn’t new at all is the problem smartphones are causing government employees across the military, intel agencies and Capitol Hill.
Our world is filled with news and conversations about hacking. From well-publicized public hacks like Target, OPM and Equifax down to the private internal discussions of how to keep information safe, hacking is all around us.
Pentagon’s smartphone policy costs taxpayers an estimated $2 million per day
On May 22, Pentagon leadership banned smartphones from all secure spaces – effectively every office and meeting room in the largest single office building in the world. The ban even includes government-issued phones given to high-priority personnel and negatively impacts over 26,000 Department of Defense military, civilian and contractor employees.
Economic espionage – also known as industrial espionage, corporate espionage and corporate spying – justifiably resides as the top concern of security professionals and persists across companies of all sizes. Whether a company’s knowledge assets or data on its personnel, the odds have long been that someone seeks proprietary information.Today, however, the information is more accessible, exists in various locations and available to devices via the internet. What has also changed is the migration of access to data as it no longer occurs for everyone from a computer terminal in an office. Data now resides in the cloud and may possibly be distributed across a myriad of electronic devices. Moreover, the adoption of mobile computing combined with the explosion of electronic devices has forged a Bring Your Own Device (BYOB) work model that has essentially extended the enterprise’s security perimeter to each employee’s phone providing assailants a greater surface to attack with an easier entrée given the vulnerabilities with smartphones. These devices that have more computing power than what powered a business 40 years ago have but a fraction of the protections. The abilities to access corporate systems, intercept inter-company correspondence, eavesdrop on sensitive conversations, track employees and store precious data now reside on smartphones and reside in nearly every employee’s hand with the first and often only guard of protection to something an enterprise values.
As the internet uses #PasswordDay to celebrate and patronize the 1961 Massachusetts Institute of Technology creation of the password, we at Privoro are working on our goal of ending the use of passwords within our organization.
This is the third installment of a three-part series on cybersecurity advice. In part 1, I covered general awareness and protection of personal devices. In part 2, I covered ways to protect yourself in online interactions. In this third and final post, I will focus on ways to practice good digital hygiene such as backing up data, managing passwords, keeping data clean and managing your social media information.