spying

How can I prevent smartphone apps from spying on me?

App Store

Episode 1597

Scott from Long Beach, CA

Scott doesn't want his smartphone to phone home and spy on him. Leo says that both IOS and Android will allow you to turn off their cell access, thereby preventing them from phoning home. But realize that will limit their usefulness.  Check out this article on how apps phone home - https://www.dailyherald.com/business/20190601/what-is-your-iphone-doing-...

Huawei's reputation for Chinese Spying Causes Google to Suspend business

Huawei

Episode 1593

Recently, after the US banned sales of Huawei cell phones due to spying, Google has suspended all business with the Chinese telephone manufacturer over genuine concerns that Huawei phones have spying issues. Google will not be updating Huaweii phones, give access to the app store, or any other product support. Huawei has also been added to the US Department of Commerce trade blacklist. Leo says it's a shame because Huawei makes some great hardware. 

Is Facebook Eavesdropping on Me?

Facebook

Episode 1580

Kyle from Columbus, OH

Kyle is convinced Facebook is listening in on his conversations because he'll get ads showing up that is strangely related to conversations he's had within the last few hours. Are they listening in on him? Leo says that would a huge amount of data for a billion and a half users to process and then generate ads for. So it's likely not what Kyle think it is. The reality is, that Facebook already knows so much about him, that they don't really need to listen in on him. 

Bloomberg: China Hacks SuperMicro Motherboards

Motherboard

Episode 1530

Bloomberg published a story that China's PRC had installed a tiny chip the size of a grain of rice on all Elemental SuperMicro Motherboard, giving them access to a treasure trove of corporation and national security secrets. These boards are used widely in corporations and even the Department of Defense. Leo says the article was well researched, well sourced, but the day after it was published, everyone, including corporations where 17 unidentified sources worked, have denied it. Even the US Department of Homeland security and the UK CyberSecurity Ministry.

Is my smartphone spying on me?

Spying

Episode 1484

Ellen from Orange County, CA

Ellen is concerned that with a camera, microphone and GPS, that her phone could be spying on her. Rich says that one company, ZTE, was banned in the US because its phone was collecting user information and phoning home with it. But Rich says that was probably a software issue. Phones aren't really spying on people, per se. But when she signs up for free services like Facebook, they are aggregating a lot of user behavior that is used to push ads to her. It seems like spying, but it's more that it provides information for her based on her interests and online behavior.

Can Amazon Echo be used to spy on me?

Amazon Echo

Episode 1457

Mark from South Carolina

Mark wants to know if Amazon Echo is going to be used in cars. Leo says it will. In fact, Leo just installed one in his. And we'll soon see Google's Assistant there, too. It's the next big thing in computing. Mark is also concerned that Echo could be used to spy on him. Leo says that's possible. But Leo doesn't think Amazon wants to manage all that information and the risk to its business if it was discovered that Amazon was snooping on customers would be devastating. But then again, law enforcement could always subpoena to have access to it.

Are DJI Drones Spying on the Army?

Episode 1411

This week, the US Army issued a directive ordering soldiers to not use DJI drones and other UAVs due to cyber vulnerabilities and the potential for spying by the devices on the battlefield. DJI is shocked by the move without consultation. What would be the threat? Leo says that drones have radios and GPS, and often have internet connectivity. So it's possible that drones could be taken over by a third party and used for spying, especially for mapping terrain. But Leo says it's also likely there's could be a certain amount of paranoia at work here.

"Citizenfour," a Documentary on Edward Snowden, Has Been Released

Episode 1165

Citizenfour is an Academy Award winning documentary on the story of Edward Snowden. He was a contractor for the NSA as a systems administrator working out of Hawaii, and that's how he was able to obtain information. What he did with that information is what became so controversial. He went to Hong Kong, and contacted journalists to give them this information he had collected, but didn't want anything released that would risk the lives of government operatives. Instead, he wanted journalists to tell the world, Americans in particular, what the NSA had been up to.