More than 98-percent of the world’s mobile device malware runs on Android smartphones. That means your iPhone is protected, right? Not so fast. There are forces in the world that may have already compromised every PC, smartphone, and tablet.
The Russians Are Coming, The Russians Are Coming!
With apologies to the 1966 movie of the same name, it may be that the Russians are already here. In the U.K. both iPhones and Apple Watch are banned from government Cabinet meetings because it’s feared that Russian hackers could use them as listening devices.
One U.K. government official:
The Russians are trying to hack everything.
In the U.S. the F.B.I. told both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump– during their security briefings– that Russia was behind recent attempts to hack various political organizations and email accounts; Republican and Democrat.
James Clapper, Director of National Intelligence:
We believe, based on the scope and sensitivity of these efforts, that only Russia’s senior-most officials could have authorized these activities.
Is your iPhone safe from state-sponsored hackers? What about Apple Watch? Both iPhone and Watch have a microphone and wireless capability, so it’s within the realm of possibility that each device could be hacked into without your knowledge and your private conversations recorded by Russian spies lurking nearby. Maybe so, maybe not, but who wants to worry about such things.
This is compounded somewhat by news that cameras on Macs, iPhones, and iPads can also be hacked without your knowledge. Who wants to do that? Russians, obviously.
Who cares? And, is anyone safe?
The answer to the first question depends. So long as you’re not storing government secrets or talking with others about personally sensitive information or national secrets, you’re probably not in any danger. Yet.
The answer to the second question probably is, ‘No.’ If government officials turn off their iPhone and are banned from using them in meetings with other officials, then it’s likely that none of us are really safe from outside attacks.
Maybe it’s just the alarmist nature of the media, but we hear more reports of Russia and China hacking into the U.S. than ever. Are we that insecure? Is our government trying to do the same thing? Who is retaliating against whom?
What can you do to be completely safe?
I’m thinking that no electricity is a good start, but that would cut down on my Netflix viewing. The obvious reality is straightforward. Until we have certain reasons to do otherwise, we need to be prudent and cautious, but not fearful and suspicious. If what you’re doing in front of your Mac’s iSight camera you don’t want to see on YouTube, but a cover over the camera. If your conversation details with a co-worker could get you into trouble, it might be wise to turn off your iPhone.
Outside of those basic precautions, and the fear we get in a daily barrage from the news and interwebs, have a nice day.