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Old 21st July 2016
shep shep is offline
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Default Snowden's Working with Bunnie Haung to disable SmartPhone Tracking

IN EARLY 2012, Marie Colvin, an acclaimed international journalist from New York, entered the besieged city of Homs, Syria, while reporting for London’s Sunday Times. She wrote of a difficult journey involving “a smugglers’ route, which I promised not to reveal, climbing over walls in the dark and slipping into muddy trenches.” Despite the covert approach, Syrian forces still managed to get to Colvin; under orders to “kill any journalist that set foot on Syrian soil,” they bombed the makeshift media center she was working in, killing her and one other journalist and injuring two others.

Syrian forces may have found Colvin by tracing her phone, according to a lawsuit filed by Colvin’s family this month. Syrian military intelligence used “signal interception devices to monitor satellite dish and cellphone communications and trace journalists’ locations,” the suit says.

In dangerous environments like war-torn Syria, smartphones become indispensable tools for journalists, human rights workers, and activists. But at the same time, they become especially potent tracking devices that can put users in mortal danger by leaking their location.

National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden has been working with prominent hardware hacker Andrew “Bunnie” Huang to solve this problem. The pair are developing a way for potentially imperiled smartphone users to monitor whether their devices are making any potentially compromising radio transmissions. They argue that a smartphone’s user interface can’t be relied on to tell you the truth about that state of its radios. Their initial prototyping work uses an iPhone 6.
A link to a detailed paper and the original article.
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Old 25th July 2016
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rons rons is offline
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After all the bad press, it amazes me how people continue to have such an enormous amount of blind faith in their own abilities, thinking that they can determine whether or not a piece of high tech hardware is behaving properly. Most recently, the pols of the DNC showed us that they don't understand the security ramifications of using any kind of technology.

Any monitoring device that is contemplated should be independent of both the software and the hardware of the tested device. This is because the hardware can be just as compromised as the software. Just like with people, we now have the scenario of having watchers for the watchers.

People continue to believe that when they turn their phones off, that they're really "off" - when that's not a true thing to believe. Phones sleep. Heck - the journalist they cite may have had her phone "woken up" by a 911 reverse call (which is built into all US phones). I don't know how reverse-911 is configured over there in the mid east. Anyway, many people have bluetooth turned on and don't realize it. Bluetooth devices can advertise their unique "addresses" all day long, if hit with a query signal. With WIFI it's a similar, but reversed, situation. Most of these things, including the regular phone-to-tower communications, have heartbeat transmissions ongoing even when they're supposedly idle.

Journalists should be aware of these things. Many people continue to use TOR, when in the past it has been an excellent source for Wikileaks (though not with proper use nor with TOR's approval). Now the DNC can't keep track of their emails. Good grief.

I know I'm preaching to the choir here. So .... never mind.

Last edited by rons; 25th July 2016 at 03:37 PM.
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