Years ago this would be called a “conspiracy theory” but now that the CIA’s “Vault 7” hacking tools have been released this is an established truth. What’s more scary is the revelation applies to pretty much all computing devices and all OS’s. The CIA has found exploits and used backdoors into the various devices. I suspect the backdoors and some vulnerabilities were forcefully injected by the US government. To make it more scary we have the NSA’s PRISM and this combined with the CIA dump is alarming because those entities combined with other governments surely have a lot more than what has been revealed. It is not a stretch but rather insane to believe you are not likely being watched and listened to. We haven’t even covered well funded, private hacking groups.
There are two issues here. The first one is companies who willingly create vulnerabilities and backdoors at the request of governments and private groups. The second issue is compounded by the first one where on top of that many products and companies also spy on their customers and also share that data with third party companies and governments at will without any disclosure or regulation.
It’s more than just following where you’ve gone and listening and watching you, the new smart vehicles can be hacked and likely have government mandated malware or backdoors. Imagine if a government doesn’t like someone and they suddenly have a tragic accident. There is absolutely no reason why this shouldn’t be the case and perhaps one day we may learn of cases of bizarre traffic accidents that were not really accidents at all.
On an interesting note the “Marble Framework” was released which is essentially an anti-forensic tool to make it difficult for malware and virus experts to attribute the code to the CIA or the US government. The framework would essentially make it look like enemies of the US such as China, Russia, Iran, or North Korea were responsible for cyberattacks and malware that the US itself had created.
With all this it sounds hopeless but it is not, Edward Snowden famously stated “do not give up on encryption” as clearly not everything is hackable and compromised, there are steps we can take to prevent ourselves from being hacked by the government. Edward Snowden’s comments and actions are of particular use, the fact that he still says to use encryption means there are ways to be secure. We should also remember that he used the Tails distribution for communication and used OpenPGP, so it appears at least in the recent past, this was a secure and unbreakable way of communicating.
“What last year’s revelations showed us was irrefutable evidence that unencrypted communications on the internet are no longer safe. Any communications should be encrypted by default,” he said. — Edward Snowden
How can you protect yourself? There are steps we can take but avoiding the usage of free, insecure services to communicate such as gmail,facebook,whatsapp and also avoiding products that spy on us. Try to get an older TV or if you get a newer one rip it open and disable the microphone, wifi etc. If you drive a vehicle consider again seeing if it is possible to disable some of the spying features on it or drive an older vehicle without technology that logs and calls home. It’s time to get armed and follow certain procedures, avoid certain products and make it as a difficult as possible to be spied on. Although the programs and hacking methods, groups like the CIA possess are incredible, not all are guaranteed to be successful especially on those who do not run default or standard settings.