I can also be found writing on BH Consulting as Brian Honan's Social Media manager as well as appearing on Naked Security.

GCHQ And NSA Harvesting Data From Angry Birds And Other Apps

Spies in Britain and the US have been harvesting data from popular smartphone and tablet apps according to new revelations that come from documents leaked by ex-NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

Those documents suggest that games, social networking apps and mapping tools are providing the intelligence community with location data and information about users’ age, sexual orientation and political affiliations.

Angry Birds NSA GCHQ

Reports in the Guardian, the New York Times and ProPublica suggest that the joint spying programme “effectively means that anyone using Google Maps on a smartphone is working in support of a GCHQ system.”

A statement from the NSA said data coming from non-valid foreign intelligence targets was of no interest, adding that,

“Any implication that NSA’s foreign intelligence collection is focused on the smartphone or social media communications of everyday Americans is not true.

We collect only those communications that we are authorised by law to collect for valid foreign intelligence and counterintelligence purposes – regardless of the technical means used by the targets.”

GCHQ were somewhat more tight-lipped, saying that it did not comment on matters of intelligence. Ther organisation did, however, say that its activities were “authorised, necessary and proportionate.”

Besides Angry Birds, the documents also mentioned Flickr and Flixster as well as various applications that connect to Facebook, all of which were targeted by the NSA in its search for a “golden nugget” – a scenario which would see the spy agency acquire a full house of data, including a list of websites visited, friends lists, downloads and networks the device had connected to.

Whilst individual developers are responsible for the data collected by their apps there is no suggestion of tacit collusion between firms and the security services.

This episode does, however, act as a stark reminder that none of our data is truly safe from those determined to gain access to it.

As ever, if you value your privacy then you need to take a degree of personal responsibility and think hard before sharing anything over a medium that can be accessed by third parties.

If You Buy Ads Make Sure You Are Not Falling Victim To Click Attacks

There are all types of ways for black hat hackers to be able to make money by scamming people who run ads on the web. An ad only works when you bring someone in who wants to buy the item that the ad is advertising for. If you are just getting someone who clicks on the ad with no purpose of being there then that means you are losing money for no reason.


Protect The Orders You Get Online

There are still plenty of offline threats that you have to worry about as well. So when you are expecting a package make sure you keep a sharp eye out for it. There are plenty of bad guys out there who are looking for it as well.


The Threat of Cross-Platform Malware #Infographic

Just a few years ago I remember reading many articles and comment sections on a number of blogs and websites where opinions about operating systems and malware were interesting to say the least. Back in the day, many seemed to think that Windows was the only operating system that had a problem with viruses and [...]


Be Careful When You Configure Your Operating System

When you have any system that allows the user to change any aspects of it there are bound to be holes. It is up to you as the end user to make sure that the changes that you are making does not lead to security problems down the line.


Safer Surfing: Secure Your Router

If you have grown up in the internet age then being able to navigate all of the technology that you see probably comes a little bit easier to you. But if you are someone who was used to doing things a certain way before the internet then you might be a little lost when it [...]