Hot answers tagged

353

This may not be the answer you will be happy with but how about abstaining from having any undesirable data inside your phone in the first place and instead using the right tool for the job? According to Wikipedia: The app records information about the device it is installed on, including its [...] IMEI, the phone's model and manufacturer, and the phone ...


192

Get a phone which doesn't support Android apps. Why are so many of the answers complex? And not just complex, fragile and suspicious and downright dangerous to the questioner? You want to use your phone to send messages and make calls, right? You don't want this app installed, right? Say hello to your new phone: Good luck getting an Android app running on ...


161

It's worth noting that your first link is in relation to the Windows Insider program. The Windows Insider program provides you with pre-release software that does call home with usage details and other information. This is something that you agree to by installing the Windows Insider preview - if you don't like it, you don't have to install it, it's ...


115

The short answer is that if the hardware is compromised, then anything you can read, it can read.


81

This is a tricky one. It goes without saying, but it's also a dangerous one. Attempting to circumvent these restrictions and getting caught doing so will potentially cause a lot of legal trouble. If they throw people in jail for refusing to install the app, I wouldn't want to figure out what they do to people circumventing the app restrictions. It is ...


76

Given that your laptop was in possession of a government entity with unknown intentions towards you for an extended duration, there's really no way you can restore it to a fully trustworthy state. If you assume the U.S. DHS to be hostile, then the only secure process to move forward with includes: Assume all data on the laptop, and all other confiscated ...


55

They can execute code on your device while they have physical access to it. And you can't refuse it. I'm sorry to say that but you are basically doomed. There's no way to trust this device anymore. That's part of the 10 immutable laws of security. In your case the rules #1, #2, #3, #6 and #10 are applicable. But when you act like you don't trust the device ...


53

There is no clear evidence that third party anti-malware security software (AV software) is more effective than Apple's own security solutions to protect Macs. Rich Mogull on the Mac TidBITS blog explains: Far less malware exists for Macs, but even there we see limited effectiveness across tools. For example, in a recent test by Thomas Reed, even the ...


49

No, the device can see anything you can see, so if it's compromised, using encryption wouldn't protect you against that specifically. When you use encryption, it goes something like this: You type or say something into the phone. This goes through the phone's firmware / operating system to turn you touching the screen, pressing a button, etc. into some key ...


46

Normally, I'd just parrot the "nuke it from orbit and start from the beginning" line. However, information security is also about understanding your adversary, the practical risk, and the assets you're trying to protect. In this case, I think situation is a bit different; your spouse clearly just Googled for "free key logger" and downloaded the first one or ...


45

Change all your passwords! (no one had mentioned this) This is assuming that you're going to take an open approach to this problem rather than engage in counter-spying or image manipulation of your own. It's fairly basic advice, but do this on a computer you trust (this one cleaned or at work), and don't re-use any of your old passwords. Personally, I like ...


45

Given the information you have provided I'd say that it's google shortener visiting the url to check it for security purposes: "Our spam detection algorithms are automated, and routinely disable suspicious goo.gl short URLs" see here. Back in 2013 it came out that Microsoft monitors skype conversations for HTTPS urls. It then visits these urls purportedly ...


37

This is a little long but this exact argument has been rehashed for the last 14 years. I want to put it to bed. I worked for Apple Tech support from 1992-2001 and have been an Apple developer since. So, I have a very good historical view of Apple ecosystem malware security. My conclusion? 3rd party anti-malware software on the Mac is unnecessary and as ...


37

This is a great question. Basically, once a device has been seized by an adversary with the level of sophistication as a nation-state, especially the United States, that device and all data contained cannot be trusted. The only safe approach is to not trust that device and destroy it. The Snowden leaks have exposed the various methods in which the ...


32

Very Simple, Facebook IS spyware. It is also "Consensual" spyware...yeah, it's spying on you, but you agreed to it (even if you didn't read the agreement before checking the "I Agree" box), and it is probably safe to say, you 'enjoyed' the benefits of it, so most people (still) aren't really complaining about it. As the public's understanding of just how ...


31

You could use a tool like Wireshark to analyze your outbound traffic (you need to be upstream of the device) and look for unexpected/suspicious outbound traffic. Of course, it could be infrequent or only triggered by certain activities, so you'd need a large volume of data to analyze. And you'd need to be able to analyze (at least traffic analysis) the ...


28

Depending on your level of paranoia about this and the amount of your code, at the extreme you can move to a LOW-TECH method to circumvent anything that has been done. Buy a cheap printer. Connect it to your laptop. Print out your source code as reams and reams of text. Print out any graphics, layouts etc. Print out any needed user settings. Destroy the ...


28

Use a custom ROM (two, to be correct). Android phones can have more than one ROM installed, and you choose one or the other. So install two copies. On the clean ROM you install the spyware, anything not dangerous, games, whatever you feel clean. On the secure ROM you install things you don't want anyone to know about. Keep the clean ROM running almost all ...


26

I'll answer in the form of an anecdote. Back in 2003, I was working in tech support for a Mac-based organisation. We were essentially a government contractor and, as such, nearly all our money came from sending Microsoft Word documents to the government to document what we had done and what we should be paid for. Someone managed to bring a Word macro virus ...


25

Despite the common wisdom, I would not recommend running anti-virus for two reasons: Anti-virus does not really work. Though it might catch trivial or well-known viruses, it mostly just gives you a false sense of security. Anti-virus can cause problems. In order to function, anti-virus programs have to situate themselves quite low on the computer ...


22

@Stolas has already explained that the only way to be sure what an application does is to reverse engineer it and inspect its code, and @RoryAlsop already described why such access permissions are required from the application architectural point of view. But there's one thing that I feel I should add. I think there's not much to worry about here. Why? ...


22

Macs do get viruses, the main reason why there were historically so few viruses around for Mac is because their market share was so small. When someone writes a virus, most of the time they want to infect as many targets as possible. So 10 years ago this would result in almost only Windows viruses since they had such large market share. Recently, however, ...


22

With a Windows Profile you can see a portion of what's been collected. Expanding on Flyk's Last point. Microsoft Updates will be turned on by default with a peer to peer model for updating over your LAN or LAN and the Internet. Cortana seems to be the main intrusion with Windows 10. Optional extra's include linking to Office 365 linking to Power BI for data ...


21

Yes, it's possible. A malware can simply utilize the SMS functionality in your phone to transmit formatted data from and to your phone. Heck, it might even use DTMF. Update: After your edits, your question turned from acceptable to really bad. In any case, the most plausible scenario here is via Bluetooth. However, I think you're just very paranoid and/or ...


19

I'd recommend you just go with it. The Chinese police doesn't just stop any random person in the street and asks for their phone. They stop Uyghur. This happens for reasons which are somewhere in between "mitigate a real threat" and "Woah, no go, dude", but whatever it is, it's what the government does, so it's legal and "right". No benefit of doubt, and no ...


18

1) So there's no way of knowing they haven't. I feel like that's a bit above their paygrade (and would they have the time to?). It depends on your paranoia level. If your thoughts flow like a tranquil stream after the first spring day, then copy the data to a new machine and move on with life. If you wonder if the dogs howling in your thoughts are messengers ...


17

You have to put some level of trust somewhere in the chain. There's no direct way to find out where the backdoor could be. In android device, you may trust OS because of its kernel source but drivers and firmwares are proprietary. If these were flashed in compromised state, it gives an attacker same level of privilege as the kernel. If the OEM seems to be ...


16

Like many others mentioned, there are trust issues here. thats needs sorting. the best way is a face to face discussion. an even better way to invite her is by typing out the invitation on your computer so that she sees your invitation and also comes to know of the keylogger in there. Now that you know your laptop is insecure, you should setup some admin ...


14

Disclaimer The approach I am about to describe might be unethical and perhaps even illegal. I am posting this for two main reasons: one I have no emotional attachment to your relationship; and two, because I like solving problems, the answer below is from a technical point of view: I am not really suggesting you do as I say below - the other answers that ...


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