Explosive allegations this week out of Wikileaks that U.S. intelligence agencies are surreptitiously spying on us using our devices has prompted many consumers to worry if their data privacy is at risk.
In a data dump of more than 8,000 documents purportedly coming from inside the CIA, Wikileaks alleges that intelligence agencies have developed malware that can turn iPhones, Android devices and Samsung smart TVs into covert listening devices.
Give the preponderance of internet-connected devices in our lives, many consumers are naturally concerned about what Big Brother might be listening to, and how confident they should be in their data security.
“I’m not confident at all,” says Justin Oliver, who was in small phone-repair shop in Toronto this week. He was there for a quick fix of a broken screen on his Samsung smartphone, but he’s nowhere near as confident in a permanent fix for his data security.
“I think people can gain access to information any way they choose … to access an IP address or my phone would probably not be that difficult for someone who’s advanced.”
Daniel Tobok, the CEO of Cypfer and a cyber security expert, says there’s no such thing as 100 per cent security, even before this week’s events. “The bad guys out there … have access to a lot of crazy tools,” he says.
The techniques alleged in the Wikileaks documents may represent a new front, but the reality is that widespread and blanket espionage just isn’t feasible.
“I don’t think the average Canadian needs to be concerned right off the bat,” Tobok says, “but there’s definitely a little bit of concern that everybody should have and just be a little bit more cautious.”