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.
In August, we conducted our annual survey designed to gauge attitudes about mobile security and privacy. In looking behind this year’s numbers, I was struck by how shifting perspectives seem to mirror the goings-on in the world of Apple. As a trillion-dollar company and the maker of the ever-popular iPhone, Apple has a metaphorical magnifying glass on everything it does, good or bad.
Organizations concerned about sensor abuse are now adopting the Privoro SafeCase™, a first-of-its-kind mobile security solution companion for smartphones that not only provides its own set of trusted sensors but also protects against illicit audio/video capture by hijacked cameras and microphones.
As a mentor, investor, and longtime player in the tech industry, I’m frequently asked which market segments I’m betting big on over the coming decade. My knack for spotting market transitions and the technologies that will fuel these shifts partially stems from my relentless focus on outcomes. That’s why I approach investing like a multiplayer chess game; I play out the entire game, replay various scenarios and anticipate others’ moves before I make the decision to invest my time and resources.
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.
The mobile security of political candidates and their staff gets lost in the shuffle when discussing threats to our elections. However, a series of trends point to mobile espionage becoming the next major vehicle for electoral interference. These trends include:
- The smartphone’s rising importance in conducting the day-to-day business of a political campaign
- The increasing use of intrusive smartphone surveillance tools to target political officials
- A growing appetite by malicious outsiders to interfere in elections by any means necessary
In this mobile security blog post, I’ll discuss the reasons why smartphones may be the next electoral hacking target and the potential consequences of such a shift.
Earlier this month, a controversial report in Bloomberg Businessweek ignited a larger conversation about a topic that has long been a concern of security professionals: the hacking of the hardware supply chain. The fear of backdoors built into devices isn’t new (see: the blacklisting of Huawei and ZTE products by the US government), but concrete evidence is rarely made available to the public.
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.
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.