Cellular SpyCraft

Why blame your government for spying when you do it to yourself?

Whether you are tech savvy IT guru, financial officer, or stay at home mother, I am sure by now you have heard of the crazy cyber security threats trending across social media. Attempting not to contribute to alarmist style commentary, it is simply an unavoidable reality.  Both technology and security are not on the same level of maturity in today’s age.

But let’s set aside for a moment the grim reality, in 2015, the world was exposed to one of the most horrific forms of cyber threats known to the modern world (ransomware). You may also find while you search online to verify the previously stated numbers that statistically, you dear reader, are less than 1 degree of separation from an information security related incident effecting you directly. Both topics have been exhausted in previous articles, yet come to a unique similarity for the article at hand.

“Cellular SpyCraft.” Breaking the title down into a more manageable vernacular one could define Cellular SpyCraft as the following:

Cellular: denoting or relating to a mobile telephone system that uses a number of short-range radio stations to cover the area that it serves. The signal being automatically switched from one station to another as the user travels about.

SpyCraft: simply put, the skills and techniques employed by spies.

“Spies,” in the terms of this article, will be expanded beyond the typical interpretation you may have formulated from years watching 007 James Bond movies.  In this case, a spy, or one who uses Cellular Spycraft, is anyone, or anything (governmental, non-governmental, marketing agency or jealous spouse alike), collecting information about you and using it for purposes for other than what you intend.

Allow me to explain. Day in and day out you hear about how the “government” is monitoring your communications.  Whether by using super spy tools, they are sometimes qualified by your overzealous informants working (or claiming to have worked for) a nations intelligence agency. Most pay no mind to such news, because to the average person “none of this affects them.”  You read it and say to yourself, “Well I’m no criminal. I do not care what they do.”  A mindset so common, I would like to associate it here with a quote from one of my favorite movies, The Usual Suspects. “The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist.”

Before you become set in confusion, allow me to explain a few facts I have learned on my journey in the Cyber world.  First, you are correct, and commonly humble, if you understand your government probably doesn’t have a tap constantly listening to your phone conversations indiscriminately.  Second, as we have seen in the latest Apple vs FBI debacle, there isn’t a major conspiracy between our nations and technology companies to deploy backdoors to monitor its citizen’s communications. (Exclusions to this rule do exist, but we will avoid that discussion for reasons of maintaining course.)

If you have made it this far in the article, by now you have decided which side of the fence you stand on in relation to government communication surveillance. But now, I ask you to lend yourself to a more tangible and investigable perspective. Let’s put aside the conspiracy for one moment.

Shall we digest facts?  Let’s make this a bit interesting. Would you do me a favor?  Would you please pull out your phone? (If you are on an airplane and your flight attendant has instructed you not to turn on electronic devices, I strongly advise you NOT to try this experiment right now.) Now, I would like you as quick as possible count ALL of the APPS on your phone. Literally try and time yourself. Count how many apps are on your phone. …..10 seconds? 18 seconds? 30 seconds?

If it took you longer than 3 seconds, then you can consider yourself a Floater in the game of Marketing and Advertising. (A person used one time, occasionally, or even unknowingly for an intelligence operation.)  In intelligence terms, the ”Brush Pass” (encounter where intelligence is passed between case officer and agent) of your information is facilitated by the app maker.  The advertising company pays for what you may consider useless random information about your whereabouts, times a day you pass a specific location, social media topic preferences, sexual preference, and thousands more of “attributes” to Application Developers.

This is how the “game” works.  Every “App” you have on your phone serves at least two purposes. One being the obvious, to provide you with a service you felt compelled you needed (ordering food online, locating your banks nearest ATM, etc).  The second is collecting, disseminating, and classifying the data elements obtained from the usage of that app.  So it can then be sold to marketing and advertising agencies.

Whether or not you believe this information is Chicken Feed, it is HIGHLY valuable. (Genuine, but not seriously damaging, intelligence knowingly provided to an enemy intelligence agency through an agent or a double agent to establish credentials.)  Apple and Google paid more than 1.5 BILLION dollars out to developers in 2013. FACT! What’s even cooler than this is rights management agreements you more times than not just click through without reading (see below).  You authorize this “spy craft” to be facilitated.

I’m sure you’ve seen this more than once in your life. Think back to the exercise where you counted the apps on your phone. If you have an android phone, you’ve “Authorized” such rights and access the number of times you counted the apps on your phone.

Now, perhaps you may be thinking to yourself, “Is there a solution? Perhaps an APP firewall that can control such access to my information?” Perhaps there were sound solutions in the beginning, but for now you have to put your “Counter Intelligence” hat on and think vigilantly when downloading apps. As far as phone security, communication privacy, and “off-grid” communication solutions are concerned, there is one company, Silent Circle, developing, in my opinion, one of the securest communication solutions in today’s market: The Blackphone. And using RF cloaking cases, like the ones developed by bits & digits, for Blackphones or any iOS / Android platform running Silent Circle’s Silent Phone application.  Minus using the aforementioned, you have to basically assume your phone and your information are “Marks” in the communication security game.

Stay Vigilant, remain sane.

J. Tate from.

www.bitsdigits.com

Edited January 2020.


Original Exclusive Article by J.Tate, Chief Intelligence Officer bits&digits in BizBahrain Feb – March 2016 issue, pg. 82 – 83.

Why blame your government for spying when you do it to yourself.

Whether you are tech savvy IT guru, financial officer or stay at home mother I am sure by now you have heard of the crazy cyber security threats trending across social media. Attempting not  to contribute to alarmist style commentary, it is simply an unavoidable reality that both technology and security are not on the same level of maturity in todays age.

But lets set aside for a moment the grim reality that in 2015 the world was exposed to one of the most horrific forms of cyber threats known to the modern world (ransomware). You may also find while you search online to verify the previously stated statistics that statistically you dear reader are less than 1 degree separated from an information security related incident that effects you directly. Both are topics that have been exhausted in previous articles, yet come to a unique similarity for the article at hand.

“Cellular SpyCraft” breaking the title down into a more manageable vernacular one could define Cellular SpyCraft as the following:

Cellular- denoting or relating to a mobile telephone system that uses a number of short-range radio stations to cover the area that it serves, the signal being automatically switched from one station to another as the user travels about.

SpyCraft- simply put The skills and techniques employed by spies.

“Spies” however in the terms of this article will be expanded beyond the typical interpretation you may have formulated from years watching 007 James Bond movies.  In this case a spy, or one who uses Cellular Spycraft is anyone, or anything, (governmental, non governmental, marketing agency or jealous spouse alike) that collects information about you and uses it for purposes for other than what you intend.

Allow me to explain, day in and day out you hear about how the “government” is monitoring your communications.  Whether by using super spy tools sometimes qualified by your overzealous informants working (or claiming to have worked for) a nations intelligence agency. Most  pay no mind to such news because to the average person, “none of this affects them.”  You read it and say to yourself, “Well Im no criminal, I do not care what they do”.  A mindset so common I would like to associate it here with a quote from one of my favorite movies The Usual Suspects “the greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist.”

Before you become set in confusion allow me to explain a few facts that I have learned on my journey in the Cyber world.  First, you are correct and commonly humble if you understand that your government probably doesn’t have a tap constantly listening to your phone conversations indiscriminately.  Second, as we have seen in the latest Apple vs FBI debacle there isn’t a major conspiracy between our nations and technology companies to deploy backdoors to monitor its citizens communications (exclusions to this rule do exist but we will avoid that discussion for reasons of maintaining course).

If you have made it this far in the article by now, you have decided which side of the fence you stand on related to government communication surveillance. But now I ask you to lend yourself a more tangible and investigable perspective. Lets put aside the conspiracy for one moment.

Shall we digest facts?  Lets make this a bit interesting, would you do me a favor?  Would you please pull out your phone (if you are on an airplane and your flight attendant has instructed you not to turn on electronic devices I strongly advise you NOT to try this experiment right now). Now I would like you as quick as possible count ALL of the APPS on your phone. Literally try and time yourself, count how many apps are on your phone. …..10 sec? 18sec? 30sec?

If it took you longer than 3 seconds then you can consider yourself a Floater (A person used one time, occasionally, or even unknowingly for an intelligence operation) in the game of Marketing and Advertising.  In intelligence terms the ”Brush Pass”(encounter where intelligence is passed between case officer and agent) of your information is facilitated by the app maker, the advertising company who pays for what you may consider useless random information about your whereabouts, times a day you pass a specific location, social media topic preferences, sexual preference and thousands more of “attributes” to Application Developers.

This is how the “game” works.  Every “App” you have on your phone serves at least two purposes. One being the obvious, to provide you with a service that you felt compelled you needed (ordering food online,locating your banks nearest ATM, etc).  The second is to collect, disseminate, and classify the data elements that are obtained from the usage of that app so it can be sold to marketing and advertising agencies.

Whether or not you believe this information is Chicken Feed (Genuine, but not seriously damaging, intelligence knowingly provided to an enemy intelligence agency through an agent or a double agent to establish credentials) it is HIGHLY valuable.  Apple and Google paid more than 1.5 BILLION dollars out to developers in 2013. FACT! Whats even cooler than this is that rights management agreements that you more times than not just click through without reading (see below), authorize this “spy craft” to be facilitated.

Im sure you’ve seen this more than once in your life. Think back to the exercise where you counted the apps on your phone. If you have an android phone, you’ve “Authorized” such rights and access the number of times that you counted the apps on your phone.

Now, perhaps you may be thinking to yourself “is there a solution, perhaps an APP firewall that can control such access to my information?” Perhaps there were sound solutions in the beginning, but for now you have to put your “CounterIntelligence” hat on and think vigilantly when downloading apps. As far as phone security, communication privacy and “off-grid” communication solutions are concerned there is one company “Silent Circle” that develops in my opinion one of the securest communication solutions in todays market The Blackphone. And using RF cloaking cases like the ones developed by bits & digits for Blackphones or any iOS / Android platform running Silent Circle’s Silent Phone application.  Minus using the aforementioned you have to basically assume your phone and your information are “Marks” in the communication security game. Stay Vigilant, remain sane J. Tate from.

www.bitsdigits.com

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