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Edward Snowden shows how to keep your phone from spying on you

Posted: , posted by Stephen S.

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Your phone's ability to put you in touch with people all over the world is a huge part of its appeal; with just a couple taps, you can be video-chatting with an old friend from the other side of the country. But those features that make modern smartphones such powerful communications tools can also be a liability, especially if you've got reason to believe that your phone's security is compromised. How can you prevent your own smartphone from being used against you? In a new preview from an upcoming episode of Vice, Edward Snowden shows just what it takes to “go black” with a handset and take away its ability to spy on you.

Would you know it if there were software on your phone surreptitiously recording your conversations, or watching you through its cameras? Whether it's coming from some rogue malware threat, or a state-sponsored agency with access to some serious hacking resources, it's no big reach for software to start using your phone's own hardware to covertly monitor you.

Snowden takes a pretty extreme approach here, basing it on the assumption that it's really difficult to trust your phone's software. If software can't guarantee privacy, the obvious solution is to turn to hardware enforcement; here, Snowden does just that as he physically removes a phone's cameras and microphone components.

Taking away a phone's camera is pretty much a deal-breaker when it comes to any video-call action, but as Snowden points out, even a phone that's had its microphone disabled can still make calls – you've just got to pop in a headset with its own mic when you want to talk.

This goes way, waaay further than most of us would ever need to take smartphone security, but most of us don't find ourselves in the NSA's crosshairs like Snowden does, either.



source: Vice (YouTube) via Boing Boing

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