08 September 2012

Big Brother Is Watching

Last, week a group known as AntiSec posted one million UDID or Unique Device Identifiers used by Apple to put together each IOS device (iPhone, iPad or iPods) and its owner's private data.
Credit wikipedia

Basically, we are talking about my iPhone ID along with my address, my numbers, applications I downloaded and a bunch of other personal information.

AntiSec stands for Operation Anti Security and refers to a number of hactivist attacks by members of a group known as LulzSec (Lulz Security). They are associated with the hacker group Anonymous. You might have seen them on TV news wearing Guy Fawkes masks supporting Occupy Wall Street movement.

They hackers released a long statement (worth reading if you want to understand their motivations) to explain that the information came from the laptop of an FBI Special Agent by the name of Christopher Stangl. And the file contained 12 million UDIDs.

In other words, FBI had a large database of personal information of IOS device users (iPhone users to you and me).

They said that, before releasing these one million IDs, they scrubbed the attached personal information.

FBI was not pleased. They first sent out a tweet denying the fact that they had people's private information on an FBI laptop. It is a cute one.

The following day, they released a carefully parsed statement, also known as a non-denial denial:
"At this time there is no evidence indicating that an FBI laptop was compromised or that the FBI either sought or obtained this data," the bureau said in a statement on Tuesday.
And of course, the next day, Apple talked to All Things D and provided them with this really, seriously contrived quote:
“The FBI has not requested this information from Apple, nor have we provided it to the FBI or any organization."
Note that they are not saying that the information is not accurate. By then, a lot of online techie sites were full of people who clamored that they recognized their own devices on the list.
The data is legit. We're still seeing news outlets question the veracity of the data but if you're paying attention to tech forums, there's no doubt that this is a real database full of real people's current device information. A number of people have found their devices within the one million, as we confirmed in this story.
On Hacker News community member Monotoko wrote, "I have found my own UDID - I can confirm these are real UDID's" and mehrshad said, "Sure - me. Both my iOS devices are on this list - confirmed both by name and UDID match."
Why Should This Worry Me?

It shouldn't worry you.

No. Really.

If you are reading this, chances are, you are like me, that is, not important enough for anyone to spy on you. But you should be aware that your calls and emails go through backdoor traps set by many governments and intelligence agencies.

And you should realize that this is the new reality.

You might remember AT&T giving NSA backdoor access for warrantless surveillance of domestic communications.

But do you remember how RIM, Nokia and Apple gave Indian government backdoor access to their communication system?

What about the earlier incident where Blackberry devices were about to be banned in Saudi Arabia (and later in the Gulf) and RIM averted that crisis by "allegedly" providing backdoor access to these governments?

If Dubai or Bahrain can get backdoor access, do you think France, Germany or UK do not have the same?

In fact, in July, a security expert claimed that China had backdoor access to 80 percent of world communications.

Welcome to the world of Big Brother.

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