Surveillance – NSA can access data on your mobile device

Sep 10, 2013, 11:30 am EST

The German news agency Der Spiegel reported last act of US surveillance, the NSA is able to access data stored in a wide range of mobile devices including Android, iPhone and BlackBerry.

Here we are with weekly news on NSA surveillance activities, last week we were shocked by the news on Bullrun program meanwhile today we discuss on the capability of the agency to access data stored on most Smartphones.

The data include the list of calls, SMS traffic, user’s contacts, notes and GPS data, the documents revealed the existence within the National Security Agency of teams of experts for mobile OSs hacking.  The German news agency Der Spiegel reported that the NSA is able to access data stored in a wide range of mobile devices including Android based Smartphones, iPhone and BlackBerry, the news is supported by documents provided by Edward Snowden to the media agency. Blackberry was one of first OS cracked according the documents despite is was considered high secure and for this reason adopted for business.

“In response to questions from SPIEGEL, BlackBerry officials stated, “It is not for us to comment on media reports regarding alleged government surveillance of telecommunications traffic.” The company said it had not programmed a “‘back door’ pipeline to our platform.”” reports the post on SPIEGEL.

NSA mobile cracking teams are organized in working groups, each of them dedicating to the exploitation of a specific operating system.

US intelligence was already able to access to SMS messages, a document of the agency dated 2009remarked that the NSA agents can “see and read SMS traffic“.

Recently, two Guardian journalists discovered on their mobile a suspicious app that is visible the following images poster by reports via Twitter, it has no icon neither title and apparently it isn’t related to any activities on the mobile despite its size of 98,6 MB.


Who has installed that app and how? It is still a mystery.

The German news agency confirmed that the NSA capability to access data on mobile devices is not considerable as a mass surveillance operation, but it is exploited by US Intelligence to spy on specific individuals and was done secretly without the support of manufacturing and Smartphone vendors.

It was June when we discussed on an idea of US law enforcers to the realization of a kill switch on mobile devices that would be used in case of theft. New York’s top prosecutor, State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, and San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón promoted an initiative, dubbed Secure Our Smartphones (SOS), with purpose to shutdown secondary market on devices. In reality the idea raised an intense discussion on the consideration that someone could abuse of the functionality, anyway differently from the last revelation on NSA in that case law enforcement and US Intelligence got positive response from major vendors such as Apple. Apple revealed that next release of its mobile operating system, iOS 7, include the function “activation lock“ that can make a stole Apple devices (iPhone or iPad) unusable permanently

The last group of Snowden’s documents leaked confirmed to the most skeptical users that nothing is secure, not even their mobile.

(Source: CDM, Pierluigi Paganini, Editor and Chief )

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