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You’re REALLY doing it wrong!

Jul 03, 20125 mins
BluetoothCellular NetworksData and Information Security

25% of people will text during sex and 15% will answer a call during sex. What if your cell was listening via the microphone and watching via the camera because it's handy and can be made into a covert listening device? Then there's malware that turns your phone, or your laptop web cam, into a spy stealing your privacy...

Did you know, the world sends 3.5 million texts per minute?! No one forces us to carry smartphones with us at all times, but they are pocket spies so it’s no wonder why mobile phone tracking is the preferred surveillance of choice. The ACLU warned, “Of all of the recent technological developments that have expanded the surveillance capabilities of law enforcement agencies at the expense of individual privacy, perhaps the most powerful is cell phone location tracking.” And the cell phone companies rake in the big bucks by selling historical cell site location data. A new infographic got me to thinking; it’s called Cellular Jerks: Where are you mobile manners?

“The average person talks three times louder on a cell phone” and have made 55% of people uncomfortable to overhear a personal call. Sometimes I see things slightly different than it was meant to be seen. These habits and stats may make a person a cellular jerk, but from a security perspective, eavesdropping on such mobile habits make social engineering so easy even a preschooler can do it.

Neither of these are wisdom, but:

Mobile privacy is a bit of an oxymoron as it is, but also from a privacy perspective it’s about to get gross and we are working our way to really creepy.

Stop for minute and think about this. What if your cell was listening via the microphone and watching via the camera because it’s handy and can be made into a covert listening device? Way back in 2006, the FBI began tapping cell phone mics for eavesdropping purposes. It’s not just the government potentially listening either, since a plethora of spying software is sold to jealous spouses and significant others every year. Some folks find it James Bond cool, while others think it’s more like a cyberstalking tool. You remember the espionage malware Flame that took advantage of Windows and spoofed Microsoft security certificates? Bluetooth capabilities are also not always your friend and as Ars reported, malware has allowed attackers to physically stalk victims; “Flame attackers could even surveil smartphones not infected by the malware.”

With that in mind, not only would this make you a cellular jerk, but anyone who does this is most assuredly doing it wrong!

Unless you are really into voyeurism, the fact that your mobile device could be spying on you during such intimate times probably doesn’t really turn you on. Or maybe so? It takes all kinds. But if you hadn’t thought about how else your cell phone could be used to spy on you, then have you stopped to consider the same scenario but in regard to your laptop? Do you leave it open? Hmmm, do you really believe your web cam is only on if you see the light that shows it is recording? A recent study found that 1 in 2 Americans are clueless about web cam hacking.

Someone could be watching . . . and this video ‘Webcam’ does any excellent job of showing that. It’s “based on actual events and was shot entirely on a computer’s webcam. The filmmakers hope that it will make people think more about the technology that we use every day and the effects it can have on all of us.” Can’t happen? Think again before you scoff. HOW TO: Spy on the Webcams of Your Website Visitors, a vulnerability in Adobe Flash, made it to Jeremiah Grossman’s top hacking techniques of 2011. That was no sooner “fixed” before another was revealed as “Adobe Flash Webcam clickjacking – The security fix that wasn’t and the hole that was.”

Cover your webcam with a piece of tape, a Post-it note, or buy a cover. While “don’t be a cellular jerk” and “Wow, you are really doing it wrong,” were more the points to the graphic, I sometimes see things in different shades of privacy and security shades of gray.

Infographic Credit:

Like this? Here’s more posts:
  • The more you encrypt, the more the government breaks into your cloud
  • Study Finds 1 in 2 Americans are ‘Clueless’ about Webcam Hacking
  • Track the trackers with Collusion: Interview with Mozilla’s Ryan Merkley
  • Microsoft ‘sorry’ for raunchy Windows Azure video with dancing girls, bad sexual lyrics
  • Hacker claims to have breached & backdoored antivirus software firm Trend Micro
  • The Future of Drone Surveillance: Swarms of Cyborg Insect Drones
  • Male or female, who’s the better social engineer? Battle of the SExes!
  • Newest Creepy Way to Frame Your Boss on Facebook?
  • Is Microsoft right and W3C wrong about Do Not Track being turned on by default?
  • NSA claims it would violate Americans’ privacy to say how many of us it spied on
  • Bill proposes to protect Americans’ privacy from warrantless drone surveillance
  • Windows 8 technology shift: The coming end of Win32 apps
  • LinkedIn lawsuit, stealing your password via LinkedIn phishing, password reuse
  • Going Dark in the Golden Age of Cyber-Surveillance?
  • FBI Creates Surveillance Unit to Build Backdoors into the Web

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ms smith

Ms. Smith (not her real name) is a freelance writer and programmer with a special and somewhat personal interest in IT privacy and security issues. She focuses on the unique challenges of maintaining privacy and security, both for individuals and enterprises. She has worked as a journalist and has also penned many technical papers and guides covering various technologies. Smith is herself a self-described privacy and security freak.