Watch out for these two threats

Friday, 5 October 2018
London, UK
By Sam Volkering

  • Big Brother is watching you
  • You have no choice
  • The two threats from government SMS

You are being watched. All the time. Whether you like it or not.

You cannot escape. You cannot prevent it. There is only one option to make it stop. But to do that you may have to do something you’re not capable of.

Down in the street little eddies of wind were whirling dust and torn paper into spirals, and though the sun was shining and the sky a harsh blue, there seemed to be no colour in anything, except the posters that were plastered everywhere. The black moustachio’d face gazed down from every commanding corner. There was one on the house front immediately opposite. BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING YOU, the caption said, while the dark eyes looked deep into Winston’s own.’

George Orwell, 1984

The prophetic words of Orwell are chilling. His vision of a dystopian future is proving to be far more accurate that we’re comfortable with.

It might not be as ‘in your face’ as Orwell wrote. But it’s certainly there. It’s just a little more subtle and covert. And because of this subterfuge many people remain oblivious to what’s happening.

The issue that we all face however is the solution to our problem is one we likely won’t take. It’s one we likely can’t take. And worst of all, Big Brother knows they’ve got us all exactly where they want us.

Markets

Overnight the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed down 200.91 points, or 0.75%.

The S&P 500 lost 23.90 points, or 0.82%.

In Europe, the Euro Stoxx 50 index finished down 30.40 points, or 0.89%.

Meanwhile, the FTSE 100 rose 1.22%, and Germany’s DAX lost 0.35%.

In Asian markets, Japan’s Nikkei 225 is down 153.44 points, or 0.64%. China’s CSI 300 is up 1.04%.

In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 is up 9.30 points at the time of writing, or 0.15%.

On the commodities markets, West Texas Intermediate crude oil is US$74.76 per barrel. Brent crude is US$84.90 per barrel.

Turning to gold, the yellow metal is trading for US$1,198.75 (AU$1,669.50) per troy ounce. Silver is US$14.57 (AU$20.62) per troy ounce.

One bitcoin is worth US$6,544.53.

The Aussie dollar is worth 70.65 US cents.

Call me anytime, anywhere you like

This week every single person in the US with a mobile phone got an alarming wake up call. Well, it wasn’t technically a wake up call. But it was a text message from the US Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

As reported in The Atlantic,

The wireless test was a “presidential alert,” the most serious kind of mobile bulletin U.S. emergency-notification infrastructure supports, and there’s no way for users to opt out.

There’s the problem. No way for users to opt out.

Think about the significance of that for a second. Let’s say you wanted to send me a text message. In order to do that you need my phone number. If you don’t have it, you shouldn’t be able to find it.

If I’ve done myself any favours I’ve made sure my personal phone number isn’t available to find. That means I’ve chosen not to have it in any online directory. It means I’ve decided to not link it and show it on social media.

I’ve made the conscious decision to not let people have free reign over my phone number. If you’re smart, then you’ll also have taken the same precautions.

However if I was in the US, none of that would matter. Whether I like it or not (and I wouldn’t like it), the US government has access to my phone number. And through the façade of FEMA they can reach me anytime, anywhere they like.

Of course the US government has people believing this is an important service. FEMA is designed to alert people to potential emergency situations.

Situations like a nuclear threat from foreign powers or some other emergency. And people will think that it’s an important service — those who choose to lie in a haze of delusion, that is.

This is a dangerous and worrying situation. And the most obvious reason to be petrified about it is a reason that no one is talking about.

Surveillance and attack

Kaspersky Labs is one of the world’s finest cyber threat research companies. They also build and deliver cyber security services to business, corporations, public and private and organisations.

In 2017 Kaspersky detected 5,730,916 different malicious installation packages for mobile devices. They also found 94,368 mobile banking Trojans and 544,107 mobile ransomware Trojans.

A malicious installation package is a cyber attack that installs some kind of bug on your phone that allows external control or surveillance.

A mobile Trojan is very much like the Trojan horse you’ll know very well. It hides inside a legitimate-seeming download, and can do anything the attacker wants.

In some instances a Trojan may send premium rate messages. This has the effect of giving you a huge phone bill and lining the pockets of the attackers. Trojans can also track, record and send information from your phone.

They can access information like your passwords, files and pictures on your phone, financial information and personal details. In other words, everything needed to steal your identity.

What’s alarming is they can do this all by sending a simple SMS to your phone. All you need to do is open the SMS. And without even knowing, you may have a mobile infected with cyber attack malware.

With this latest government-issued compulsory SMS event there are two distinct threats.

The first is that cyber attackers (national or private individuals) could hack FEMA. They could access the phone numbers of every single person in the US. Then they could send a replicate SMS to look like it’s from FEMA, except laden with mobile Trojans and malware.

The other problem is that the US government itself could pack Trojans and malware in the real FEMA SMSs. Now we’re not saying they have done this, but they could. It’s not a stretch to consider this, seeing as they can forcibly send you an SMS anytime they like.

Big Brother is watching, and they now have the means to track and trace everyone.

Of course there’s an easy way out of this. Get rid of your phone. Get rid of your digital devices. Go off grid.

But the chances of that happening? Slim to none. We’ve become so reliant on digital technology that we can’t live without it anymore. It’s a weakness that we’ve all allowed to exist. And it’s one that nation states are prepared to abuse.

There’s a harder way to prevent attacks. It starts with simple action like never connecting to public Wi-Fi, running mobile cyber defence applications and of course keeping your number off any and all social media.

There is of course an investment angle here too. Companies like Kaspersky are private. But some of the world’s best and most important cyber defence companies are public. Some are even potential-packed crypto pioneers, as well.

You can invest in them, use their services, buy their tokens and protect yourself everywhere you go.

Make no mistake, this cyber threat is real. It’s getting worse and it must be taken seriously. If the FEMA SMS situation teaches us anything, let it be that you are not safe in the digital world. You must take active steps to protect yourself and your families.

If you don’t, then Big Brother truly will have you under his watchful eye.

Regards,
Sam