What do Cybercrimes, Ferraris, Cellphones and On Star Bugging of our conversations have to do with one another? It’s basically called no privacy for us and the cyber-criminals are out in full force.
You can read more here in this month’s issue of our newsletter and believe me, it’s an eyeopener.
Imagine being offered a huge bonus for finding ways to steal from the company you work for, or a prize for the best detriment to society that you can think of…it’s not hypothetical anymore. It’s real.
Likewise you believe your conversations in your car that has On Star is a safe haven to talk about anything you want without anyone listening in. Incorrect! Wrong again. Even that is gone. Read on and learn about the newest and most sophisticated ways that the FBI and the government know whether or not you are heading out to buy shoes or destroy a building.
Something to think about.
Cellphones & On Star Bugging our Conversations
You may be familiar with the interview of Edward Snowden by Brian Williams in which Snowden said that this cell phone bug was brought up as one of the techniques used by the NSA for intruding upon our privacy.
Two alleged mobsters, John Ardito and his attorney Peter Peluso, had Nextel cell phones and the FBI listened in on their nearby conversations. Ardito is considered one of the most powerful figureheads in the National Mafia so in this case maybe that’s a good thing but is it good for us?
U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan ruled the roving bug legal because federal wiretapping laws are broad enough to permit such eavesdropping.Judge Kaplan’s opinion said that the eavesdropping technique “functioned whether the phone was powered on or off.”This is the first time this technology has been used but there were conversations for a long time before this actually happened.
The U.S. Commerce Department’s security office warned that “a cellular telephone can be turned into a microphone and transmitter for the purpose of listening to conversations in the vicinity of the phone.”
Additionally, cell phone providers can “remotely install a piece of software on to any handset, without the owner’s knowledge, which will activate the microphone even when its owner is not making a call”. There is no privacy as Edward Snowden mentioned in his interview, while most of us believe that we have nothing to hide, the collection of such data, if misread, may lead to unfair consequences.
It seems that Nextel and Samsung handsets and the Motorola Razr (is that still out there) are most vulnerable to such software downloads. James Atkinson, a counter-surveillance consultant who worked very closely with the government agencies stated:
“They can be remotely accessed and made to transmit room audio all the time,” he said. “You can do that without having physical access to the phone.”
Let’s face it, modern phones are miniature computers, and downloaded software could modify the usual interface that always displays when a call is in progress. The spyware can easily place a call to the FBI and activate the microphone without the owner knowing it happened. Unfortunately the FBI is not commenting on this.
Big corporate heads often remove their batteries from their cell phones and those aware of this do the same.
“In July 2003, Ardito and his crew discovered bugs in three restaurants, and the FBI quietly removed the rest. Conversations recounted in FBI affidavits show the men were also highly suspicious of being tailed by police and avoided conversations on cell phones whenever possible.”
Snowden lives in Russia because he can’t come home, and the reason as we know it, is because he wanted the public to know that their information can be, has been, and is being and will probably always be “captured” for intelligence reasons. The laws that relate to this are so broad that the public basically has nothing to stand on.
The bugs work anywhere in the United States. Intelligence agencies employ the remote-activation method and have done so since 2004. “A mobile sitting on the desk of a politician or businessman can act as a powerful, undetectable bug…enabling them to be activated at a later date to pick up sounds even when the receiver is down.”
In his interview, Snowden was adamant about the amount of data that can be taken in this manner and says it is equal to other techniques and intrusions upon the privacy of the American People and our Constitution.
The FBI can also set key loggers onto a computer so they can detect each and every stroke on the keyboard that one makes.” Roving bugs” are legally permitted to capture hundreds of hours of conversations when law enforcement obtains a court order when alternative methods have either been attempted or aren’t possible. Private investigators may NOT obtain these orders.There is “no law that would allow me as a private investigator to use that type of technique,” ….. it is not legal in the private sector.”
This isn’t new but Snowden brought it out to the public . There was even a lawsuit in 2003 in which the FBI was able to surreptitiously turn on the built-in microphones in automotive systems like
General Motors’ OnStar to snoop on passengers’ conversations and the passengers were unaware!
Malicious hackers have followed suit, and Snowden referred to this as well, there have been cases before today. A man who wrote a Trojan horse that secretly activated a computer’s video camera and forwarded him the recordings was arrested in Spain. TIP: WHEN YOU HAVE A CAMERA ON YOUR LAPTOP OR PC COVER IT WITH BLACK TAPE FOR EXTRA SECURITY. Often we use our equipment when at home and we are in very “casual situations”.
As we always say. BE DILIGENT…at least as diligent as is allowed.