This may sound like a good storyline for cyberpunk film. A government agency implants monitoring chips into millions of people. In reality, an infected or hacked smartphone could do the same thing. Spying technology has become quite advanced in recent times, making it easier than ever for hackers and snoops to gain unsolicited access to mobile data such as call details, SMS and MMS, emails, WhatsApp and Skype conversations, and even location details of unsuspecting victims from a distance at any time. Getting hands on a spy app for iPhone or Android has become a cinch as such tools are being openly marketed and sold online.Privacy is diminishing while digital spying in on the rise. However, the most frightening part is that this isn’t something that only hackers do. n fact, government agencies are known to spy on average citizens. Edward Snowden and other whistleblowers have hinted that UK and US and intelligence agencies have compromised the security of Gemalto, which is the biggest SIM manufacturer in the global industry. Encryption keys are needed to protect mobile telecommunication. SIM cards are used to verify mobile phone billing for text, voice and data services. It means that NSA and other major intelligence agencies have acquired essential access to monitor our mobile conversations. In this case, each country around the world should express indignations of such actions and check whether their networks have been breached.
It should be noted that such chips aren’t used only on smartphones and tablets. They are also used by financial institutions in credit cards and debit cards. Some chips are embedded inside luxury cards and electronic US passports. It’s clear that intelligence agencies have many ways to gather information. It seems that the safest way to transmit information is only by direct conversation in remote places, far from digital technologies. Gemalto has confirmed that the hacking activity occurred in 2010 and 2011, but there wasn’t any evidence that these agencies were able to compromise large number of SIM encryption keys. However, they seem to be able to infiltrate the office networks.
Even so, this is a strong indication that the telecommunication industry will continue to be targeted.
SIM manufacturers won’t be the only target, because there are many ways to gather information from the mobile industry. It appears that targeting the telecommunication industry is a fair game for intelligence agencies. They want consumers to trust them and they convince us that their power will never be corrupted or abused. In the end, it is difficult to be that trusting, because the mobile industry is a very user-intensive environment. Hacked smartphones won’t only allow people to listen to our conversations, they could also scan our surroundings and track our whereabouts. It is actually possible to enable the camera in our smartphone from remote places, allowing people to gather more information.
So, what consumers should do prevent this data breach? Fortunately, intelligence services seem to be more concerned about terrorist and intelligence acts between nations. If we are average mobile users, there could be very little chance that we will be affected. In essence, we are just random users among billion others. Although this isn’t a cause for worry for many people, it is important to voice our concerns. Even so, it is more important for us to worry about data breach caused by genuine criminals, by preventing installing malware-ridden apps. In this case, it is far more likely for us to be affected by inappropriate actions by genuine malicious individuals.