Smartphones, A Perfect Cyber Espionage and Surveillance Weapon
The use of mobile devices in government environments concerns the secret service of any states, cyber espionage more often exploits the mobile platforms.
Mobile devices are reason of great concern for governments, they have a great computational capability, huge memories to store our personal data, GPS to follow our movements and are equipped with a camera and microphone to increase our experience in mobility. But all those features could be exploited by attackers for cyber espionage, the problem is well known to governments that are adopting necessary countermeasures especially following the recent revelations about the U.S.
The UK Government has decided to ban iPads from the Cabinet over foreign eavesdropper fears, it has been requested Ministers to leave mobile in lead-lined boxes to avoid foreign governments to spy on top level government meetings.
The news is reported by the Mail on Sunday, after the Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude made a presentation using his iPads last week (about how the Government Digital Service might save the UK £2bn a year) the Downing Street security staff has dismissed the mobile device to prevent eavesdropping of ongoing discussions.
The measure was adopted to avoid that foreign security services infecting mobile devices are able to capture audio and data from victims, it is known that hostile actors like China, Russia and Iran have the ability to use mobiles in powerful spy tools.
Ministers belonging to sensitive government departments were recently issued with soundproof lead-lined boxes to guard and isolate their mobile devices during official meetings.
The precautions have been taken due the high concern caused by news that German Chancellor Angela Merkel's personal mobile has been spied by the NSA for years. My personal opinion it that it is not acceptable that the German Federal Intelligence Service has allowed everything, missing the adoption of appropriate protective measures like crypto mobile devices, protected landline and similar. Other governments already have approached the problem to adopt secure devices to prevent bugging and eavesdropping, the British foreign secretary William Hague confirmed his phone has been armored by GCHQ.
Just a week ago it was published the news that delegates at the G20 summit in Russia received malicious computer memory sticks used to serve a malware to spy on the participants and steal sensitive information, let's remember also that the information leaked on the NSA.