What The Latest CIA Leaks Mean To US Citizens Like You
“If you think it, don’t say it. If you say it, don’t write it. If you write it, don’t be surprised.”
This is computer security experts’ favorite quote – and in today’s world, it seems like this old Soviet saying couldn’t be more accurate. After the WikiLeaks revelation on how the CIA can (and probably does) check everything from smartphones to television and computers, we can’t help but wonder: how private are our lives really?
The first reports on the situation prove that your usual American citizen can do, well, pretty much nothing to protect his/her information from the CIA. In other words, every phone (even the ones with encrypting programs on them) and TV – not to mention apps – is being monitored.
Before you start to panic, though, there are some very important things to mention regarding this situation.
First of all, none of the cyber-snooping weapons can be used against US citizens wihtout having permission from legal authorities. However, according to Scott Vernick, partner of the data privacy specialized law firm of Fox Rothschild, any CIA member can use any of these tools outside the US because, obviously, constitutional laws don’t apply there.
The second reason that makes us less concerned about our privacy is that it’s highly unlikely that the CIA would waste such important tools and resources on finding out what girls gossip about on the phone.
As global vice president of the EastWest Institute Bruce McConnell says, ‘It’s probable that they’re reserved for use with high value targets.’
A real reason of concern, though, is that WikiLeaks also found that CIA discovered lots of security weaknesses in tech products that most of us use daily. Here are some examples of what the agency has come to find:
Smart TVs – When the device is turned off, it’s actually a ‘fake off’ mode. This means that it could be used to record conversation and send them via hackers’ servers.
Smartphones – Needless to say, hacking a phone (especially when it’s connected to the internet) isn’t that big of a deal for a skilled hacker. One can find your location, record conversations, read texts and view your photos.
Car Control Systems – Hackers can take control of your vehicle using its self driving capability.