Yes, you most likely are. The government is probably spying on you in the name of National Security. Malicious parties are also snooping on your internet traffic in a bid to glean some important information. Advertiser and websites are tracking your every move online to feed you content that will guide you to the check out page.
Unconvinced? Well consider these well-documented instances, and there will be nary a doubt that someone somewhere is probably spying on you.
Proof That You Are Being Spied On
In 2016, when reporters asked FBI director James Comey if he covered his webcam with tape to deter spies, he answered, “heck yeah, heck yeah.” That makes you think; if the FBI director is wary of spies, how much more should you be?
In 2013, Edward Snowden, former CIA employee turned whistleblower revealed that an NSA surveillance program known as Optic Nerve captured webcam images from the video chats of Yahoo users every five minutes and stored the images for future use.
The same documents revealed that the GCHQ (Government Communications Headquarters), a UK intelligence organization was complicit in this Yahoo surveillance program. Moreover, the GCHQ had also employed other varying methods to mass surveil UK residents in the name of National Security.
Soon after Edward Snowden leaked these documents, in 2016, the UK government passed the Snoopers Charter. It is an act of parliament that forces ISPs and mobile companies to maintain a user’s browsing history for a year so that certain arms of the government can access them at will with a warrant.
Aside from the government, Apps like Facebook, WhatsApp, Twitter, Viber, are also spying on you. In addition, one cannot fail to mention hackers who are hard at work devising new ways of spying on their victims.
How Apps Spy On You
Tech entrepreneur, Felix Krause noted in 2017 that anytime you permit social media apps to access your camera, the apps can do a number of things.
- The app can record you at any time as long as the app is in the foreground.
- It can access both the front and back camera.
- The app is at liberty to take pictures and videos without informing you.
- It can upload the pictures it takes without your knowledge immediately.
- Finally, the app can run face recognition in real-time.
Of course, the spying goes beyond social media apps. In essence, anytime any app asks for certain permissions, be assured there are some background things it can do that you are not aware of.
How Hackers Spy On You
With hackers, anything goes. They can come up with anything in a bid to get access to your device.
It could be a program or software that captures information from your device, it could be a keylogger meant to capture your passwords, or it could be a malware embedded in a document that will capture your Wi-Fi access key and allow the hacker to get behind your firewall.
A good example to consider is the Metasploit application that uses Adobe Reader 9 to open a listener on the user’s device.
Elsewhere, free tools that help ordinary people to spy on others are a dime a dozen. The InSeCam website, for instance. Normal people get to search cameras by location and specify if they want kitchen, dining room or bedroom footage.
From the above proofs, it is clear that someone somewhere is undoubtedly spying on you. So, what can you do about it? For one, get a VPN.
A VPN reroutes all your traffic through the VPN provider’s servers while also encrypting it. That means anytime you access the internet you are anonymous. No one can track back your IP and use it to access your device.
Also, a VPN encrypts all your communications. Any data you send or receive is encrypted which means that if a hacker is waiting to intercept a document and embed a malware to track you, then he/she is out of luck.
Moreover, with a VPN, you are protected from the public network by the private network. Therefore, the government cannot see what you are doing. If they try to surveil you, they will only get as far as your VPN’s provider’s server and that is it.
Anything you do inside the VPN’s private network is completely safe from prying eyes. That means that even with the snooper’s charter in effect you are stills safe.
Finally, a mobile VPN puts a layer of security between you and any app that is trying to get more information out of you than it ought.
Of course, there are other things you can do such as being careful with the permissions you give to an app or having a really strong firewall and antivirus. Actually, you should do these things because they also offer their own kind of protection.
However, in addition to all these other, security measures, you should also get a VPN. The VPN will complement the existing security measures while adding a layer of security that explicitly deals with spying.