Although having been around in .gov circles for some time, this is the first active phone hacking system on the free market. According to Forbes, the system brute forces its way through the wifi on the devices themselves and infects it with malware. The system can attack multiple devices at once while conducting man in the middle attacks. While cost-prohibitive to most agencies at $3.5-5 million a piece, the technology is a public unveiling of what’s definitely possible.
Cell phone snooping is not new or ground breaking on its own. The monitoring of CDMA and GSM signals are illegal according to federal law, but this doesn’t prevent any agency with a Title III warrant or the more broad guidelines of FISA to be able to surveil phones. And the bounds of the law has no bearing on what’s possible through technology. As I covered two years ago, the technology can be open source for those smart enough to do the lifting. And while RedzSigint, that freeware program detailed, appears to be vaporware on the surface, rest assured it exists.
So what does this mean for you? Well first taking into account the vulnerabilities of so-called secure messaging apps such as Signal, and now the unveiling of this equipment on the market, the security conscious should follow other protocols for maintaining privacy. You might want to consider an alternative OS as listed in this article for your mobile devices. Inconvenient? Sure- but also off the beaten path. But the biggest step you can take is a plain old air gap. Shut off the wifi when not needed. Forego some of the convenience for a bit of privacy and if its not something you’d shout out loud, wait to share it in person. You know, like people used to do.