You could be calling your doctor to book an appointment, calling your lawyer to discuss an active case in court or your accountant to discuss your company's financial situation. In other words, it might be that you are engaged in any type of communication, and you expect to have total privacy.
Well, you could be surprised to know that it is not the case anymore as someone could be actively eavesdropping on your communication. The US National Security Agency can now listen to your phone conversation, activity online, and even monitor your movement. You ought to know that there is a spying program that was mothballed by the NSA and supported by congress. As scary as that may sound, it is essential to understand how the NSA spies on you. Let us delve in deeper and tell you more.
The NSA collects your phone records.
There exists a warrantless wiretapping program that was first revealed to the public by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden. Fixed under The Patriot Act, the program allows the NSA to obtain business records that are relevant to a terrorist investigation. The agency gets to collect the phone number dialed, the time, and the duration of the call.
The Obama administration found fault with the program and proposed changes. They now require judicial oversight of access to the database. That said, the NSA still actively collects phone records of millions of people each day. Under the guise of the warrantless wiretapping, your conversations are collected by the agency, which means you lack privacy.
The NSA can hack into your device.
The NSA has an established unit known as The Tailored Access Operation (TAO). As opposed to other programs, the NSA uses it to collect your data. Well, the TAO engages in specialized attacks on defined high-value targets. It has since been established that the NSA has a large library of exploits, meaning they continue to make your device vulnerable to hacking.
They can hack into a wide variety of consumer gadgets, including yours and business Information Technology (IT) systems. According to the confessions by Edward Snowden, the NSA hacks network backbones, such as huge internet routers. This gives them access to the communications of hundreds of thousands of computers. This is done without necessarily having to hack every single one. It makes it possible for the NSA to hack into your laptop without your knowledge.
The NSA taps long-distance internet connections.
A surveillance program known only as PRISM is funded by NSA through which the agency spies on the internet of your device. The NSA has been known to work with countries around the world to tap into the undersea fiber optic cables carrying large volumes of optic data. The NSA has even been tapping into the fiber optic cables in the US. They could be spying on your internet activities and illegally store your data.
The NSA has intercepted data flowing between Google data centers
The NSA tapped into Google massive data of individuals, recording millions of emails without proper authorization.
This happened after Google failed to add encryption in internal data transfers. It was a major cybersecurity flaw that was exploited by the NSA who likely collected your data.
Google added the “Lock” symbol to your Gmail account, meaning your email communication is now more secure. Although that could be a reason to believe that your email communication is private, there is still reason to worry. The NSA has been known to exploit Gmail flaws quietly. They can bypass encryption to access your email communication.
NSA could be tracking your cell phone location
Research into the NSA activity has shown that the agency has spied and collects more than five billion records per day about cell phone users' location. That means you are likely to be one of the targets, and they could learn about your whereabouts effortlessly.
While the NSA collection of your cell phone location is not acceptable within the United States, it is still known to happen. In fact, the telecommunication companies that serve you are obliged to collect your exact location details as you use your cell phone. So, even though the NSA will not tap into your cell phone directly to collect information on your location, it can use the courts to force the cell phone providers to surrender your location data to them.
The NSA spies of your purchasing behavior
The NSA can also track financial records and activities. As shocking as that may sound, the agency gets to extract data regarding the flow of your money by hacking your credit card details. With such critical data, it can follow through every cent you receive or spend. The agency has the ability to track your sources of income and also analyze your spending habits. This is even possible even if your bank puts in place strict security measures to protect you from hackers.
The NSA cracked popular encryption standards for your cell phone.
For the sake of privacy, most of your cell phone communications are protected through encryption. However, in 2013, the NSA cracked one of the most popular encryption standards known as A5. Cracking that protocol then allowed them to intercept the contents of your cell phone communication. This means that your phone privacy is violated!
Using the camera to monitor you
The NSA can use malware attacks to access the camera of your laptop, smartphone, or even webcam with ease. The hacking happens subtly so that it does not affect your device's operation but still collects your information. Besides, it can turn on the microphone of your device to listen to you remotely.
You are not even safe by switching off gadgets, as they can be turned on without you noticing it. The NSA spying activities have made it difficult for you to keep privacy while using your cell phone or the internet.
Over the years, the NSA has continued to monitor your movements and communications. The agency has done so by tracking your locations and hacking into your device to eavesdrop your communications. You need to know how to protect your privacy. You now know a thing or two about the possible ways NSA can be spying on you. You can now find ways to tighten your security like using tools like VPNs to protect your identity.