The news that WikiLeaks released hundreds of documents revealing the CIA’s methods for hacking into smartphones and other Internet-connected devices has received global attention. So, what does the average person need to do to protect themselves if they are an Apple, Android or smart home gadget user?
Some vendors have been proactive in publicly disclosing what they have done or are in the process of doing to help protect their customers. Apple announced that the majority of the exploits have already been addressed in newer versions of their iOS products. So, if you are an Apple customer the easiest way to protect yourself is to make sure you are running the latest update for your iOS device, 10.2.1 or better / iPhone 5 or newer, and continue to update your applications on a regular basis.
For those using Android Devices, most of the hacking documented in the leak addressed the exploiting of Android 4 devices. So, if your device is too old to migrate to Android 5 or higher then, it’s time for a new device (as well as the immediate recycling of the old one). If your device already comes with Android 5 or higher make sure the OS and all your applications are up to date.
The Smart home device most cited in the leak as being exploit are the Samsung Smart TV systems. Dating back to 2015, Samsung has had a difficult time with public concern over privacy and new smart features of their product line. In short, if you are concerned about someone eavesdropping on your home via your smart devices like your television or your personal shopping device, such as Amazon Echo, you should avoid having those devices in your home. But, if you like the convenience that these devices offer, make sure you disable the active listening feature; only enable it when you need it, and update the firmware to the most recent version.
Finally, if you are concerned about someone taking over your device that has a camera and/or microphone, believe it or not, the old scotch tape method discussed by Mark Zuckerberg still works. Here at DirectDefense, we would also recommend that you put cotton over the microphone before putting the tape on it. This acts as a dampener against vibrations that could still be picked up with just the tape over your microphone.
DirectDefense, named one of America’s fastest growing small private companies in 2016 by Inc. Magazine, is an information security services and 24/7 managed services provider headquartered in Englewood, CO, with locations across the United States. Founded in 2011 on more than 50 years combined experience in information security, DirectDefense works in close and honest partnership with clients to design a personalized information security solution that works, based on an organization’s specific needs. To learn more, visit www.directdefense.com.