Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Intelligence Implications.

The ongoing British tabloid scandal seems to just keep growing and growing.  The list of victims of cell phone hacking includes former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, and may include Prince Charles on top of several lesser members of the Royal Family.  But in the reports that I've been exposed to I have yet to encounter any discussion of the possible espionage implications of all this.  If unscrupulous journalists, reportedly with the help of British criminals, can hack people's voice mail then what can professionals from the various intelligence agencies or the more sophisticated terrorist groups do?  The growing number of capabilities of cell phones and their cousins bring to mind all sorts of possible tricks that could be done by pro hackers, like say accessing camera functions to take pictures of secure locations, or tracking the movement of targets by GPS data.  But even access to voice mail could allow all sorts of mischief with proper analysis, especially if the target or those that contact them are less than careful with what they say.

Conversely the members of some organisations may not be happy with this scandal.  It has revealed the vulnerability of these technologies, and their current targets may as a result become more cautious with their phone use.  

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