Edward Snowden is known for bringing the public information that isn’t ‘supposed’ to be known. He never ceases to amaze, and he has recently released some information that will really get you thinking.
For those who do not know Snowden is a famous whistleblower for WikiLeaks and is currently living in Russia since he cannot come back to the US without facing serious time. He has been claiming for years now that the agency GCHQ (as well as governments from different countries) have been using a secret method to access people’s cellphones. This being something he says can be done through a mere text message.
Snowden actually told BBC there wasn’t much the owners of these cell phones could do about this either. Even when your phone is turned off they can be turned back on, and your conversations can be listened to, your photos can be gone through and so much more. The technology used to do this is referred to as ‘smurfs.’ There are several different kinds.
These ‘smurfs’ are as described below:
- Dreamy Smurf – Can turn your phone on or off without you knowing.
- Nosey Smurf – Can listen to everything going on around you.
- Tracker Smurf – Knows where you are and can locate you with ease no matter what.
(These are not all of the smurfs, just the main three Snowden mentioned. That being said below you can find information on a very strang 4th smurf.)
Mr. Snowden also referred to a tool known as Paranoid Smurf.
“It’s a self-protection tool that’s used to armor [GCHQ’s] manipulation of your phone. For example, if you wanted to take the phone in to get it serviced because you saw something strange going on or you suspected something was wrong, it makes it much more difficult for any technician to realize that anything’s gone amiss.”
Once GCHQ had gained access to a user’s handset, Mr. Snowden said the agency would be able to see “who you call, what you’ve texted, the things you’ve browsed, the list of your contacts, the places you’ve been, the wireless networks that your phone is associated with.
“And they can do much more. They can photograph you”.
Mr. Snowden also explained that the SMS message sent by the agency to gain access to the phone would pass unnoticed by the handset’s owner.
“It’s called an ‘exploit’,” he said. “That’s a specially crafted message that’s texted to your number like any other text message but when it arrives on your phone it’s hidden from you. It doesn’t display. You paid for it [the phone] but whoever controls the software owns the phone.”
Sure, the government thinks Snowden has caused damage to national security, but are these things we should really be in the dark about? I for one am glad Snowden has stood up for what is right. Please feel free to check out the video below for the full BBC interview.