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348

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 ...


188

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 ...


172

Yes. Always assume yes. Even if you are not sure, always assume yes. Even if you are sure, they might have a contract with the ISP, a rogue admin who installed a packetlogger, a video camera that catches your screen... yes. Everything you do at the workplace is visible to everyone. Especially everything you do on digital media. Especially personal things. ...


106

As a very long time Tor user, the most surprising part of the NSA documents for me was how little progress they have made against Tor. Despite its known weaknesses, it's still the best thing we have, provided it's used properly and you make no mistakes. Since you want security of "the greatest degree technically feasible", I'm going to assume that your ...


79

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 ...


72

There will be a lot of speculation regarding this question. I will try to provide as much information as stated in the articles. I will also update the answer regularly with facts provided in the comments. Relevant articles to this answer: NSA: How to remain secure against surveilance The US government has betrayed the internet. We need to take it back US ...


67

With its insulated walls and rubber door seals, a refrigerator is the most soundproof box commonly found in ordinary living spaces. If it's running, even better, it provides white noise. If one was worried about listening devices, then a fridge would be a reasonable and available place to stash them. And Snowden has alleged the NSA can do lots of things ...


54

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 ...


51

Despite the media hype, the key thing here is not that the FBI/NSA/US Government was intercepting all phone calls, but that it was collecting all phone 'metadata' records which includes: Originating Phone Number Terminating Phone NUmber IMSI Number IMEI Number Trunk Identifier (which relates to the location) Telephone Calling Card numbers Time of the call ...


50

Is it your device? There are two ways you can be monitored - either what you do on your computer is being logged on your computer, or the internet traffic it generates is being logged somewhere else on the network. There are many ways to prevent snooping on the traffic while in transport, but if it is not your computer (or smartphone or tablet) it is ...


47

I see two possible uses of such information from a government perspective. None of them involves the password or actually using your WiFi access. Forensic analysis: connected devices store an history of access points they were connected to, sometimes associated with "last seen" dates. Using this history, it is therefore possible to know where someone was ...


37

I suspect that the passage is intended to say that they took the battery out of their phone, and then put both the battery and the phone in the fridge. Assuming that's right, most likely there are two threats this is defending against: Taking the battery out of the phone ensures that the phone is powered off. This defends against a malicious application ...


35

What is being described is a protection against some classes of known-plaintext attack. Up until the 1960s or so, most ciphers were vulnerable to these (eg. many of the attacks on the Enigma cipher were based on knowing or guessing part of the plaintext). Modern ciphers are effectively immune to this: knowing that the AES-encrypted message is "Attack at ...


34

To add to the answer from @RoryAlsop I'd agree that you probably don't, as an average person, have a lot to worry about in terms of the PRISM/phone tapping by the NSA being used for it's intended purprose (anti-terrorism operations by the US gov.) as people's concept of security/privacy most of the time isn't too great. There are other good reasons to be ...


30

No, telecom providers do not need physical access to the SIM. They can change the allocated number or any SIM unique ID, therefore they can: assign the number to any new SIM and unassign it from the old one (this is actually a standard procedure for anyone losing their phone/sim) clone the number to any SIM References- cellphone operator sites: https://...


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

It's very unlikely that any government agency would crack the encryption. They would need the key. And the only way they could get that is if Whatsapp had a backdoor or weakness in their software which allowed for such a key to be extracted. There is, as of today, no direct evidence that such a backdoor exists in Whatsapp. But, since Whatsapp is closed ...


22

As someone who tracks people and their habits for a living, I will share a few observations about the average user. Implications of the phone information collection initiative on the internet: There will be a little more activity online worrying about privacy. The twitterverse will "explode" momentarily, but people will be aware of this as something going ...


22

If your adversary is a nation state actor, and you need to ask this question on StackExchange, then you're doing it wrong. You cannot be "100% safe" from a determined, powerful adversary. While it's fallacious to say "if they want you, they'll get you", it is true that you cannot be 100% safe from any powerful adversary. They will always have 0days that you ...


21

Yes you can run them side by side and not corrupt the security. This is because your Tor browser will send everything through a Tor proxy (including DNS requests) and your normal browser won't. Do mind that: If the NSA really would like to know what you are doing then they will find a way, bug your house, target your computer with malware, ... .


20

I think it's important here not to overstate the capabilities of the various Three Letter Agencies with regards to identifying Tor users. The very first slide notes that they "...will never be able to de-anonymize all Tor users all the time". This means that the fundamentals of Tor are sound. The slide then goes on to note that "...with manual analysis we ...


20

I would imagine the context of that statement was in the context of a cypher where a word repeated in multiple places produces the same cypher text in each location. If I see: AER TEO ZRE SGR. AER FSD ZFD DFG. YTR ASD AER DSG. Language analysis would reveal that "AER" is likely "The", and from there if you intercept sufficient number of encrypted ...


20

If I search Google for "parlaimnet biuldnig", I see: Showing results for parliament building Search instead for parlaimnet biuldnig So no, such mis-spells are not sufficient to fool automated systems or to act as a CAPTCHA. However, searching for "the bobm" Google doesn't offer me a correction, so the technique is not necessarily completely useless. I ...


18

More recent leaks and evidence suggests that the email providers themselves are, as a rule, not cooperating with the NSA. Rather the telecom companies such as AT&T are. The NSA wholesale captures and analyzes all the traffic upstream of companies like Google and Yahoo, and through that get implicit access to anything that isn't encrypted. So the critical ...


17

This seems like a bureaucratic way of instilling FUD (Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt) in a population. For example in the old Soviet Union, neighbors would routinely spy on neighbors and agencies collected notes on citizens. But the raw data of those notes were so enormous—and the bureaucracy was/is so inneffecient—that the actual information collected was ...


17

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 ...


15

@D3C4FF's answer hits the nail squarely on the head, however there is a further viewpoint regarding the average internet user: The average internet user has no concept of privacy, other than "the government looking at my data is bad, mmmkay" The average user shares far more information about themselves, deliberately, with the rest of the world than the 3-...


14

This issue affect both laptops, tablets and cellphones with similar solutions, so even if only laptops were explicitly mentioned in the OP's question (with still a link to an article focusing on cellphones), I think it can be useful to address the issue as a whole. There are several ways to counter malicious use of embedded microphones: Physical ...


14

You're trying to take away communications capabilities from a tool designed to communicate. It's probably not the best choice of devices. You can start by setting the phone into "airplane mode", which is intended to shut off the radios. Because of the way RF works, that means it shuts off both transmitting and receiving. It should keep you safe, but of ...


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