“This next president is going to inherit the most sophisticated and persistent cyber espionage cultures the world has ever seen. He needs to surround himself with experts that can expedite the allocation of potent layers of next generation defenses around our targeted critical infrastructure silos.” - James Scott, Senior Fellow, Institute for Critical Infrastructure Technology
Today we are going to talk about the release of "Vault 7" by WikiLeaks.
Vault 7 is a major document leak by WikiLeaks that exposed thousands of classified CIA documents explaining how the agency hacks into consumer goods and spies on their owners. They exposed such tactics as hacking into Samsung Smart TVs and using the microphone to listen in on your conversations, all while the TV appears to be off but actually is not.
Using the Signal Messaging to send encrypted texts? Well, as of yesterday we found out that the CIA has a way around that. They have have found a way to spy on your iOS or Android device and read the text you are typing INTO the Signal app, all before you even send the encrypted message.
These are two of the major items people were talking about yesterday, however, the MAJOR, and most important, issue here is that the CIA (and most likely other government agencies, FBI, NSA) have found ways to hack into the iOS and Android operating systems on our phones. These two operating systems, especially iOS, have been know for their state of the art level of security. Yesterday's leak confirmed that the CIA knows of ways to bypass all the security features of these operating systems and access anything they want on your device. Not only is this the most serious issue, but they have apparently known these loopholes for years and have never told Apple or Google about these security flaws. All along they have been accessing information on mobile devices without anyone but them knowing, while everyone thought that iOS was the safest and most secure operating system in the world.
Some people of course are taking this leak as a joke. The usual, "I have nothing to hide," statement usually comes to fruition in a time like this, however, this leak should scare and downright anger you. The government has been spying on YOUR PERSONAL INFORMATION for years without you knowing. Now you might say that you trust the government to protect your information, and by all means we all should, but would you not find it a little strange if there was someone staring through your bedroom window every night? Or watching you leave your house everyday? That is exactly what they are doing. They are watching your every move. Texts, location, music, credit cards, purchases, etc. Your life is on your cell phone. There is absolutely no difference between spying on your personal communications and staring through your bedroom window.
If the government was able to pull these hacks off, why can't someone who is sitting at home with a computer do the same? What is stopping an expert level hacker from carrying out the same type of attack on your personal information? This is what should scare you, not the fact the government is doing this, rather the fact that ANYONE is able to do this.
Unfortunately, if this leak is found to be true (which most are already citing it is all accurate information), the American public just witnessed another, much larger, Snowden type event. When Snowden leaked NSA information on mass surveillance, he did not detail how they were going about it and what tools they were using. Yesterday's leak, in detail, explained exactly how the CIA carries out these cyberattacks on the unsuspecting citizen. This information is now public, and you can bet some hacker out there is already trying to figure out how to reverse engineer the tactics to use them for their own purposes.
The unfortunate nature of personal cybersecurity is that no one cares about it until they experience it, just like a home break-in. The question is, do you rather spend some time buying and using the locks, or cleaning up the mess afterwards?
As always, thank you for joining us today! Please be sure to come back Friday at 6:00pm EST for another practical strategy to take back your privacy.
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