The latest release of documents and data by WikiLeaks could be the most profound and most damaging to the intelligence community yet. What we’ve essentially been told is that every tool the CIA and perhaps other intelligence agencies has for hacking into electronic devices was just dumped on the internet by WikiLeaks. If so, the implications are enormous.
Part of the degree of impact this will have is dependent on how people will react to these revelations. It’s likely that most people realize that most things they do online are subject to surveillance by government agencies if they are determined enough to do the work to penetrate their computers, smart phones, or home networks. With that thought in mind, how big of a deal is this?
Here’s that we know so far: “WikiLeaks revelations describing secret CIA hacking tools allegedly used to break into computers, mobile phones and even smart TVs could certainly have real-life implications for anyone using internet-connected technology. In particular, the WikiLeaks documents suggest the CIA has attempted to turn TVs into listening devices and to circumvent — though not crack — message apps that employ protective data scrambling.”
Here’s an interesting take on all of this: “‘What everybody should be asking is whether any of this was shared with local law enforcement,’ said Scott Vernick, a partner at the law firm Fox Rothschild who focuses on data privacy and security. Meaning, whether the CIA shared any of the techniques with the FBI and with other domestic law enforcement agencies that could employ them domestically.”
The comment often made by those in government who advocate for extensive government powers to monitor private citizens and companies is to opine that if you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to worry about. If that’s the case, then why seal a letter? And it denies the whole idea of a person’s right to privacy. It argues for a government so powerful and intrusive that it can monitor anything it wants about anyone of interest, regardless of whether there is any evidence of criminal intent.
This can be summarized as follows: “If they’re authentic, the leaked CIA documents frame one stark reality: It may be that no digital conversation, photo or other slice of life can be shielded from spies and other intruders prying into smartphones, computers or other devices connected to the internet.”
The question is, do you care? And if you do care, what is the best way to protect yourself from being hacked, not only by people that want your identity and money, but from the the government itself?
Here are a couple of tips from Town Hall:
Ed Mierzwinski, consumer program director at consumer advocacy group U.S. PIRG, said the news should alert consumers to how vulnerable internet-connected devices are.
“You shouldn’t be too concerned about the CIA hacking you unless you’re doing something illegal,” he said. “But this should be a wakeup call for the average consumer.”
He recommended changing passwords on smart TVs, cameras and other connected devices as often as you change computer passwords. “Whether it’s your refrigerator, smart lights you program from your phone or your baby monitor, the security systems in most ‘internet of things’ products are actually dumb, not smart.”
I don’t know about you all, but I for sure will be making significant password changes on all of my devices. What do you think about this latest information?
Source: Town Hall