The Agora => UK & World News => Going Geek info => Topic started by: Maik on Thursday, 16 January, 2014 @ 21:48:01

Title: Too smart phones
Post by: Maik on Thursday, 16 January, 2014 @ 21:48:01
What Secrets Your Phone Is Sharing About You
Businesses Use Sensors to Track Customers, Build Shopper Profiles

Fan Zhang, the owner of Happy Child, a trendy Asian restaurant in downtown Toronto, knows that 170 of his customers went clubbing in November. He knows that 250 went to the gym that month, and that 216 came in from Yorkville, an upscale neighborhood.

And he gleans this information without his customers' knowledge, or ever asking them a single question.
Title: Re: Too smart phones
Post by: TonyKath on Friday, 17 January, 2014 @ 18:28:59
They've got us - and if private companies can track this then the NSA and GCHQ certainly have it all.  Switch your phone off unless you need it to use for something.  Or at least the wifi - but of course Google and Apple geolocate via telecomms cells. 

Another thing would be to boycott establishments like Mr. Fang's and tell him why you don't want him getting his fang into your data.

I think some mobile apps report location data back to the originating company - e.g. Angry Birds.


Title: Re: Too smart phones
Post by: TonyD on Monday, 20 January, 2014 @ 12:27:09
I'm becoming more sceptical re. NSA and GCHQ alleged capabilities.
Sure, they can request ISPs and Software Companies to hand over user data and details.
Sure, they've negotiated back-doors into major encryption methods (Zip, rar) etc (allegedly)

But, if they were really that capable, wouldn't they have by now released an unencryption key method for the infamous Cryptolock trojan. How much good PR would they have gendered by doing that?
Title: Re: Too smart phones
Post by: Maik on Monday, 20 January, 2014 @ 17:14:22
Article on the BBC website about GCHQ being unable to crack a password on a USB stick after a terrorist 'forgot' what it was (but fresh charges jogged his memory): Man jailed for refusing to give police USB stick password (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-25745989)

Cracking encrypted files takes a lot more doing than listening in to routine email / phone / sms traffic.

Whether the NAS / GCHQ would generate goodwill by cracking Cryptolocker... doubt it as a lot of people seem to think that free online solutions for their (computer) problems are a right they can demand, Now. The fact that the people helping them are unpaid volunteers / they didn't pay a cent for the free software they're whinging about doesn't feature in their thinking, nor the fact that it's probably at least partly their own fault they're in the sh*t to start with. I had one guy threaten to take me to the EU Court of Human Rights over his 'right' to access GGi (still waiting for my summons to Strasbourg).

Title: Re: Too smart phones
Post by: TonyKath on Monday, 20 January, 2014 @ 20:11:30
I wouldn't think that NSA or GCHQ gave a toss about Cryptolocker and the general public.  They almost certainly already have a preventive strategy for their own high security systems with an internet connection - but bearing in mind the history of the net (remember Arpanet) they will be using their own dedicated networks for most of their stuff - though they do have to have capacity to read what we're posting on the open net.  I gather there are actually uncrackable ciphers but I would have thought that most p/ws would be short enough to use a "brute force" attack, i.e running every possible combination.  Allowing for special characters and foreign alphabets it could still take a while to crack.

That guy taking you to the European court, Maik - wasn't Nigel Farage by any chance???!  :lol:

Title: Re: Too smart phones
Post by: Maik on Tuesday, 28 January, 2014 @ 20:41:21
They've got us - and if private companies can track this then the NSA and GCHQ certainly have it all. 

I think some mobile apps report location data back to the originating company - e.g. Angry Birds.

Angry Birds and 'leaky' phone apps targeted by NSA and GCHQ for user data
• US and UK spy agencies piggyback on commercial data
• Details can include age, location and sexual orientation
• Documents also reveal targeted tools against individual phones

The National Security Agency and its UK counterpart GCHQ have been developing capabilities to take advantage of "leaky" smartphone apps, such as the wildly popular Angry Birds game, that transmit users' private information across the internet, according to top secret documents.

The data pouring onto communication networks from the new generation of iPhone and Android apps ranges from phone model and screen size to personal details such as age, gender and location. Some apps, the documents state, can share users' most sensitive information such as sexual orientation – and one app recorded in the material even sends specific sexual preferences such as whether or not the user may be a swinger.

Many smartphone owners will be unaware of the full extent this information is being shared across the internet, and even the most sophisticated would be unlikely to realise that all of it is available for the spy agencies to collect.

In December, the Washington Post reported (http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-switch/wp/2013/12/10/nsa-uses-google-cookies-to-pinpoint-targets-for-hacking/) on how the NSA could make use of advertising tracking files generated through normal internet browsing – known as cookies – from Google and others to get information on potential targets.

However, the richer personal data available to many apps, coupled with real-time geolocation, and the uniquely identifying handset information many apps transmit give the agencies a far richer data source than conventional web-tracking cookies.

Almost every major website uses cookies to serve targeted advertising and content, as well as streamline the experience for the user, for example by managing logins. One GCHQ document from 2010 notes that cookie data – which generally qualifies as metadata – has become just as important to the spies. In fact, the agencies were sweeping it up in such high volumes that their were struggling to store it.

iSpy: How the NSA Accesses Smartphone Data

According to internal NSA documents from the Edward Snowden archive that SPIEGEL has been granted access to, the US intelligence service doesn't just bug embassies and access data from undersea cables to gain information. The NSA is also extremely interested in that new form of communication which has experienced such breathtaking success in recent years: smartphones.

In Germany, more than 50 percent of all mobile phone users now possess a smartphone; in the UK, the share is two-thirds. About 130 million people in the US have such a device. The mini-computers have become personal communication centers, digital assistants and life coaches, and they often know more about their users than most users suspect.

For an agency like the NSA, the data storage units are a goldmine, combining in a single device almost all the information that would interest an intelligence agency: social contacts, details about the user's behavior and location, interests (through search terms, for example), photos and sometimes credit card numbers and passwords.

Smartphones, in short, are a wonderful technical innovation, but also a terrific opportunity to spy on people, opening doors that even such a powerful organization as the NSA couldn't look behind until now.

The NSA tackled the issue at the same speed with which the devices changed user behavior. According to the documents, it set up task forces for the leading smartphone manufacturers and operating systems. Specialized teams began intensively studying Apple's iPhone and its iOS operating system, as well as Google's Android mobile operating system. Another team worked on ways to attack BlackBerry, which had been seen as an impregnable fortress until then.

The material contains no indications of large-scale spying on smartphone users, and yet the documents leave no doubt that if the intelligence service defines a smartphone as a target, it will find a way to gain access to its information.

A detailed NSA presentation titled, "Does your target have a smartphone?" shows how extensive the surveillance methods against users of Apple's popular iPhone already are.

In three consecutive transparencies, the authors of the presentation draw a comparison with "1984," George Orwell's classic novel about a surveillance state, revealing the agency's current view of smartphones and their users. "Who knew in 1984 that this would be Big Brother …" the authors ask, in reference to a photo of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs. And commenting on photos of enthusiastic Apple customers and iPhone users, the NSA writes: "… and the zombies would be paying customers?"

The results the intelligence agency documents on the basis of several examples are impressive.

All the images were apparently taken with smartphones. A photo taken in January 2012 is especially risqué: It shows a former senior government official of a foreign country who, according to the NSA, is relaxing on his couch in front of a TV set and taking pictures of himself -- with his iPhone.