NSA Scandal Gives Birth to Spy-proof Phones


Technology has given, technology has taken away. Thanks to the NSA scandal, numerous tech companies are now creating spy-proof phones and tablets. These new gadgets are said to be secure enough to be used by government officials without worrying about being spied on. Ordinary people who don’t handle government and sensitive corporate information can also join in and buy the new tech, especially now that new reports have stated that iPhones, cell phones, and even laptops can be used to acquire personal information without the owner’s knowledge.

Laptops have been long equipped with webcams to be used to take pictures and video chat, but the FBI and some hackers have another use for it, spying. Imagine placing your laptop on a table and sitting down to watch a DVD. Without you knowing, the FBI or any hacker with the capability can turn on your webcam without activating any indication light. They can then proceed to watch you with whatever you are doing, as long as the camera is set on your direction.

The NSA also has tools that can hack your electronics, this time, the iPhone. According to reports, the NSA uses the software called “DROPOUTJEEP” that can be implanted on the first generation iPhones. When the implant is successfully set, it can send out sensitive information like text messages, phone book contacts, voicemail, and geo location. It can also turn on the smart phone’s microphone and camera to listen in and take pictures.

Aside from DROPOUTJEEP, the NSA also utilizes different software that can be used on other cellphones and smart phones. “GOPHERSET” is another implant for GSM SIM cards to get phone book information, text messages, and log files for outgoing and incoming calls. “MONKEYCALENDAR” is an attack software that instructs the SIM card to send geolocation data through covert SMS messages. “TOTECHASER” is an implant used on satellite phones that run Windows CE. “TOTEGHOSTLY”, another implant that grants the user full control of a Windows Mobile phone that offer data download and upload. And lastly “PICASSO”, a modified GSM handset that has location tracking capabilities and can collect user data and audio data.

The software mentioned are some of the many reasons why tech companies are now producing anti-spying gadgets.  One French company called Bull SA has come up with the Hoox m2 smartphone (priced at 2760 dollars or 2000 euros). The phone is Android based and has be re-engineered to “resist hacking and encrypt calls.”

On the other hand, Thales SA is taking a different direction with their fight against hacking. Instead of making hardware, they have released a software system called the “Teopad” that can be used on current Android smart phones and tablets. The idea is that the Teopad can “split” your smart phone or tablet into two, one for ordinary use, and the other for secret and sensitive information.

The bad news is that the Teopad can be a bit pricey because the license sells for “hundreds of euros”.

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