Date: 29 Oct 2018 Category : SaltDNA
Phone Tapping and Government Officials – a Far Too Frequent Combination
Cyber attacks directed at Government officials and offices are increasing. Hackers are after their personal, professional and confidential information. From data breaches to phone hacking and communications interception, Government figures have become a prime target for hackers.
The threat of mobile interception and phone tapping have been a regular occurrence in Government offices, even more so following the ‘Snowden leaks’ in 2013. There is a rising threat in mobile communications intercept. The availability, affordability and portability of IMSI catchers, technology for the easy capture of mobile communications, has seen Government offices turning to encryption solution providers to secure their information. We saw evidence of this during the most recent US Presidential race, with each party taking measures to keep their communications private.
While consumer applications within the market now frequently offer encryption as part of their default settings, these apps cannot adequately protect high profile figures in the way they would like. Government departments need to be able to manage who is communicating with whom over their chosen encrypted networks, as well as having the control over what way their metadata is stored and reported. Consumer applications don’t offer this level of security or systems ownership, and are often the key reason behind the demise of communication systems use for Government officials.
Recent hacks on the UK Parliament and Prime Minister Theresa May’s email accounts resulted in cyber criminals gaining access to ‘sensitive information’ and documentation. The content of these emails has not been released, but providing criminals with these forms of communications is not only extremely dangerous, but also completely preventable.
The UK Government hasn’t been the only high profile report of technical insecurities in 2017. US President Donald Trump was quoted in an interview with The New York Times in January 2017 that he still uses an “old, unsecured Android phone”, which he carries around the White House. The phone in question was a 2012 Samsung Galaxy S3, a phone so old that it would no longer receive the latest security updates or major software releases – a piece of technology which of course represents a major security threat.
So why do these Government Officials Continue to get Security Wrong?
In order to deliver the highest level of encryption, many technology companies forget about the importance of usability and/or control. There’s a reason Donald Trump still used his old Samsung S3, a device that was defined as unsecure and a risk.
President Obama used a BlackBerry when he first came to office, which was later replaced by a smartphone – the make of which he didn’t reveal. Both devices were completely locked down by the secret service, with any apps believed to pose a security risk removed. In an interview, Obama said that when he was given the device he was told “this is a great phone, state of the art, but it doesn’t take pictures, you can’t text, the phone doesn’t work, you can’t play your music on it,” in which the former US President responded, “So basically, it’s like – does your three-year-old have one of those play phones?”
To reach the maximum level of security, Government bodies need their communications solutions to offer three key features:
Without these key features, Government officials can leave themselves open to mobile hacks and interception due to insufficient levels of security, the ability for un-authorized users to communicate with them and the likelihood of users reverting back to insecure solutions due to the complexity of a communication platform.
SaltDNA is the first company to provide a solution for encrypted communications between mobile devices with full, centralized control for the enterprise or government. We understand that the security of mobile communications in today’s global environment is paramount, that’s why SaltDNA is built with the features & technology to keep your communications private, easy to use and controlled. All communications using SaltDNA are encrypted end-to-end using the latest encryption technologies meaning you never have to worry about your calls being intercepted or your information being compromised.
Securing your Government communications doesn’t have to difficult.