Between phones, emails and GPS devices, are we all carrying around multiple ways for Big Brother to know everything about us? Electronic evesdropping is easier that ever before, according to experts. Well... kind of.
New Scientist reports on the warnings made by George Mason University's Ryan Farley and Xinyuan Wang, who claim that it's now possible for hackers to listen in to our lives no matter what devices we come into contact with:
[A] hacker only has to compromise your favoured device with a microphone-tapping spyware virus to monitor virtually all of your conversations, transmitting them whenever the device links to the internet... [But] because hackers have become adept at managing vast networks of compromised computers - called botnets - a new menace may emerge: attackers could extend their audio surveillance to any computer or phone that their target regularly comes into contact with. "It does not have to be under the control of the victim," says Farley.
Don't worry about being under constant surveillance, however, because the software used to test this theory relied on especially gullible victims, according to one unnamed security expert:
"Their infection-point either used an unpatched version of Windows XP, or a tailored installer on Mac OS X," he says. It is unlikely any worthwhile target will used Windows unpatched, and few Apple Mac users would voluntarily install unknown software, he adds.
The moral of this story? Scientists testing theories aren't as smart as real life hackers, for one thing... But don't update any of your current software, just in case.
'Bugnets' eavesdrop on you wherever you go [New Scientist]