Welcome to the June 2019 SKY ECC Newsletter
Our big news this month is SKY ECC is now available on the Google Pixel 3a and 3a XL. We always want SKY ECC on the newest and most secure devices available. The Google Pixel line is one of the few devices—iPhones and BlackBerry Key devices are the others—we support SKY ECC on.
June Industry News and Trends
Stories you need to read to stay secure.
Privacy Threats Take Center Stage
June has been a very interesting month for privacy threats. The Spanish soccer league La Liga was caught using its app to spy on people. Austensibly to crack down on unlicensed public broadcasts of matches, the app would activate the microphone and start listening into what was going on around it. Needless to say no one is amused.
Hackers steal thousands of call records
Speaking of listening into conversations, several major carriers have been hacked and the call information from targeted individuals scooped up and sent to persons unknown. The hacks have been gathering the metadata for calls, but recordings of calls, while you might not think call metadata is a goldmine of information, it is. The most frightening part is this hack isn’t new—it’s years old.
What would your device say about you?
Crossing international borders isn’t as simple as it used to be—especially where privacy is concerned. While many countries have legal protections against authorities searching you, your home, or your possessions without a warrant from a judge, those protections aren’t in place when crossing international borders. You actually have very few rights or protections crossing borders, and search and seizure rules are almost nonexistent. An account from an American journalist coming back home from Mexico is especially chilling. Civil liberties and privacy groups have noted significant upticks in complaints from people—often US citizens or Green Card holders—crossing into the US from abroad. One of the biggest threats is being forced to unlock devices for search and examination at the border. A very troubling prospect to journalists, lawyers, and healthcare professionals who are beholden to a very high standard to protect the privacy of others.
Log into Facebook with FaceID coming to iOS
In the midst of these privacy discussions, at Apple’s World Wide Developers Conference (WWDC) this year, Tim Cook announced a new initiative/feature where your Apple ID could be used as an universal login ID across the Internet (much like Facebook and Google work today). Paired with TouchID or FaceID you could log into a site and not have to reveal a password in the transaction. This would only work on Apple devices of course and reaction is mixed about this feature and you have to wonder if trusting Apple is a good idea. And if you think about the case above, you could be forced to unlock your device and access social media at the border just by the officer using FaceID against you.
What would you pay to be secure?
On the other end of the spectrum is the Winston device which aims to hold and protect your privacy online. Winston is a box that sits between your modem and your router to shield and protect your traffic through a VPN and anonymize your traffic online. Privacy like this doesn’t come cheap though. The device is $250 plus a $99 a year subscription fee. Which maybe might not be so bad after all.
One last thing…if you haven’t updated Firefox recently, you had better and fast. A zero day flaw has been exploited in the wild that could open you up to malware attacks. Links to stories mentioned:
- Spanish soccer league’s app caught eavesdropping on users in anti-piracy push
- Hackers are stealing years of call records from hacked cell networks
- I’m a Journalist but I Didn’t Fully Realize the Terrible Power of u.s. Border Officials Until They Violated My Rights and Privacy
- Apple’s New Privacy and Security Features: A Closer Look
- Is caring about data privacy the new conspicuous consumption? (Winston)
Recent posts from the SKY ECC blog
We don’t just read about security and privacy—we write about it too. Visit the SKY ECC blog for more posts with our stance on security, privacy, and product updates from SKY ECC too. Here are a couple recent posts on helping people understand the importance of strong, end-to-end encrypted messaging.
10 Questions to Ask Before Picking an Encrypted Messaging App for Your Business
Thinking about using secure messaging for your business? Here are 10 things we think you should consider when making your decision. Read more
7 Myths About Encrypted Messaging to Stop Believing Now
There are a lot of misconceptions about secure and encrypted messaging. From “I don’t have anything to hide” to “All the apps are the same” and we try to dispel the myths in this post. Read more
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