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Phone Security and Privacy

Level 15

Who cares about privacy?

The classic argument, "If you're not doing anything wrong then you have nothing to worry about," has a tiny, yet important flaw. The word, wrong. Who defines what is wrong and what is not? For instance, if I were to text a crude joke to one of my friends in my contact list (as I often do) the recipient and I would most likely laugh and think the joke was...at least acceptable (if not actually funny). If someone (say an NSA official) intercepts and reads this text, then that's where the laughter will most certainly cease. It's at this point where things can get a little...wonky. Imagine, a simple joke intercepted, taken out of context, and then investigated by the Feds because you mentioned a government official by name! The possible, although unlikely, nightmarish scenarios are limitless. Your phone has everything dear to you including text messages, emails, bank information, locations, friends, pictures, videos, and on and on and on. Who cares about privacy? Well, in a word, me. And I'm sure you do as well. Really, how would you react to someone standing over your shoulder reading what you're writing; or worse, you come back to your desk and see a co-worker going through your phone's photo gallery? This is happening to everyone on the planet all the time without the "benefit" of actually seeing and identifying the spy. We know this because of, "He who should not be named." (No, not Voldemort. Think neve.)

The government apparently has no care whatsoever for your privacy, but thankfully, the private sector does. Yes, the time has come to go on the offense and stop playing defense with something that is yours...your privacy. (This mantra, IMHO, is something that should be touted in all aspects of the human experience. Anyway, I digress.) Enter Blackphone!

Blackphone

Blackphone is a private start-up company doing one thing: Building an Android-type phone that is 100% secure.

From their site:

"Blackphone is the world's first smartphone which prioritizes the user's privacy and control, without any hooks to carriers or vendors. It comes preinstalled with all the tools you need to move throughout the world, conduct business, and stay in touch, while shielding you from prying eyes. It's the trustworthy precaution any connected worker should take, whether you're talking to your family or exchanging notes on your latest merger & acquisition."

I'll buy one as soon as I can, I promise you.

In the meantime...

I like my privacy. I have written multiple articles on privacy that help keep your life, well, yours. Take a gander here:

There are plenty of apps (some are subscription based) that you can install for securing your phone:


Imagine a world with no bathroom or bedroom doors, with transparent walls, and with everyone knowing every thought in your head! Yikes! Remember, you're doing nothing wrong...until someone more powerful than you says you are. This is when the fun begins.


If you have any good security/privacy tips, please share them with the world in the comments section below.


P.S. You might wanna uninstall Google Maps and Angry Birds. Why? Check this out.


P.P.S. For the record, I do not have a (real) Facebook or Twitter account. I have various real and disposable email accounts, none of which reveal my true identity. At home, I have VPNs galore with A/V and anti-spyware software o'plenty. Not to mention everything I mentioned in the E-privacy articles. Even my co-workers call me Bronx. (My real name is Joe...or is it?)

8 Comments
miseri_cheat_
Level 11

I love love love this post Joe. It's really informative and educative. Ahem, sorry I meant to call you Bronx. Which one is it?

Bronx
Level 15

It's not Joe......and thanks.

kevincrouch4
Level 13

This is really good. At my college I actually implemented a "Security Game" in conjunction with my computer security instructor. It's just a simple thing. When you run it, it tells you that you caught *james Longworth* and has you give your credentials to log in to the Active Directory (so you can't impersonate someone else) and then writes to an SQL database saying Jeremy caught James at a time of XXXXXXX. And then the program logs the desktop off so you can't double dip.

With this, we can do some reporting and say "This is who left their computer unlocked and was caught the most", "This is how many times you were caught", "You 'Hacked' the most computers!", et cetera    

It's actually been a REALLY good way to get people still in school for IT (who are most likely going to eventually have high power logins) in the habit of something even as simple as just locking their workstation.

Bronx
Level 15

I like the concept.

kevincrouch4
Level 13

Yeah, then they decided I wasn’t allowed to play due to knowing how to manually write to the database. >.>

jkump
Level 15

Good reference material.  THanks!

rschroeder
Level 21

Netflix has a great program on right now (October 2015) called "Rise of the Hackers".  Goes over ransomware, Q-bit processing and Quantum calculation for very large prime numbers.

Fascinating stuff, including the Stuxnet info Netflix recently published.

And "they say" Stuxnet was supposed to be contained, never intended to be out in the wild--but it's been found outside of Iranian uranium enrichment centrifuges on 100,000 other kinds of computers--and spreading.  Another Djinn out of the bottle  . . .

Sort of like importing a bio control to handle a bio pest that was introduced to a new area, and it decimated local plants or wild life.  And the bio control turns out to be a worse hazard than the original pest.

You'd think IT & Security & Government and Business would learn from the mistakes made with Cane Toads & Rabbits and Zebra Mussels, etc.  Why let it happen with electronics?

Jfrazier
Level 18

I need to check out "Rise of the Hackers"...in the mean time I need to invest in Aluminum foil to wrap my head in..

About the Author
Who am I? • I met Robert Frost at the end of the road less traveled, and then pointed him in the right direction. • Einstein asked me to define "Up," and I did. • I cliff dive from airplanes. • On Christmas, Santa comes to me for gifts. • I play three-cushion billiards with one hand. • Lions ask for my protection (I speak Lion). • Bobby Fischer and I came to a stalemate while playing chess. • I have literally given a woman the shirt off of my back. • I have also helped an old lady cross the street. • I know what a dangling participle is. • Mozart bequeathed his Requiem to me, and I corrected it. • I was thrown out of an Eric Clapton concert twice in the same night for drawing too much attention to myself. • I am a verbose minimalist. • I am Bronx. Who are you?