If you’re not concerned about government surveillance of your phone because the National Security Agency (NSA) only collects metadata, think again.
A study from Stanford University shows that connecting “anonymous” metadata to compromising personal information is trivially easy.
Documents leaked in June by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden revealed that the organization was collecting metadata about calls placed to and from Verizon telephone lines. Although this revelation was potentially troubling, metadata collection is, in theory, not cause for concern.
The metadata about your phone calls does not reveal your name or identity, or the content of your conversations, but it does track the numbers you call, how long the calls last, and which other companies have your phone number in their directories.
Although the specific documents leaked in June concerned Verizon landlines, the NSA has since admitted that it collects metadata about mobile telephone calls and text messages as well.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), who heads the Senate Intelligence Committee, has said that collecting metadata is “not surveillance.” Because the information, by itself, cannot identify individuals, Feinstein and the NSA hold that it is practically harmless for the government to collect it.
A research team operating out of Stanford University disagrees, and hopes to prove its point with a new Android app called MetaPhone. By accessing your phone number and your Facebook page, this app does what any NSA program could do: It acquires your metadata, then correlates it with your social-media information to see how much it can learn about you.
“Phone metadata is inherently revealing,” wrote Jonathan Mayer and Patrick Mutchler, the app’s designers, on a Stanford Law School blog. By using MetaPhone, you can submit your information to a Stanford research project so that Mayer and Mutchler can determine how easy it is for organizations to glean personal information from your supposedly non-revealing metadata.
When Tom’s Guide tried the app, we found that the results supported Stanford’s assertion: Dozens of different organizations had the phone number we tried on file. The NSA — or worse, a cybercriminal — would be able to find our name, our geographic location, our bank, our medical facilities and even our eating habits with just a simple cross-check online.
The Latest on: Metadata
via Google News
The Latest on: Metadata
- Dividends By The Numbers In June 2020 And 2020-Q2on July 3, 2020 at 2:00 pm
A total of 4,017 U.S. firms declared dividends in June 2020, an increase of 899 over the 3,118 recorded in May 2020. A total of 71 publicly traded companies cut ...
- Israel Reauthorizes Shin Bet’s Coronavirus Location Trackingon July 3, 2020 at 6:40 am
The Israeli government has reauthorized the General Security Agency to share metadata with the Ministry of Health for the purpose of combating the coronavirus.
- Informatica Acquires Compact Solutions to Extend Industry Leading Enterprise Data Catalogon July 2, 2020 at 6:00 am
Informatica®, the enterprise cloud data management leader, today announced it has acquired Compact Solutions LLC to bring expanded ...
- What is Fetch Metadata? How to protect your web resources from information-stealing attackson June 30, 2020 at 7:39 am
Web developers can further protect their online resources with a new security standard that shielding them from common attacks such as cross-site request forgery (CSRF). Google’s Fetch Metadata ...
- Hackers Are Hiding Credit Card Skimmers In Image File Metadata On E-commerce Websiteson June 29, 2020 at 4:40 am
- e-Commerce Site Hackers Now Hiding Credit Card Stealer Inside Image Metadataon June 29, 2020 at 3:33 am
In what's one of the most innovative hacking campaigns, cybercrime gangs are now hiding malicious code implants in the metadata of image files to covertly steal payment card information entered by ...
- Credit Card Skimmers Can Hide in an Icon's Metadataon June 26, 2020 at 8:10 pm
In the midst of a news cycle filled with stories of the chaotic global pandemic and mass civil unrest raging around us right now, I personally find solace in stories about the constants we can rely on ...
- Hackers Are Now Hiding Credit Card Skimmers In Image Metadata On The Webon June 26, 2020 at 6:08 pm
Physical credit card skimmers aren’t new and while they can be disguised, it is relatively easy to spot it if you know ...
- Hackers are hiding virtual credit card skimmers in image file metadataon June 26, 2020 at 9:40 am
Lots of people know to check ATMs and gas station credit card readers for skimmers, but it’s harder to tell when virtual ones are hidden them in websites’ payment portals. According to research from ...
- Credit card skimmers are now being buried in image file metadata on e-commerce websiteson June 26, 2020 at 3:52 am
Cybercriminals making use of online credit card skimmers continue to improve their attack methods, and this time, malicious code has been found buried in image file metadata loaded by e-commerce ...
via Bing News