Messenger says your shit is not secure. Now what?


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Today the interwebs were all a twitter over the fact that Facebook was requiring users, who wanted to message each other via the Facebook app, to download Messenger.

The issue with Messenger, is the fact that by installing the app onto your mobile device, you’re giving Facebook the right to do things that many consider a violation of basic privacy rights.

By way of example, installing the Messenger app allows Facebook to collect data on who you call and the length of the call, the other apps you use and how frequently you use them, the content of text messages and various other on-device activities that have nothing to do with Facebook Messenger interactions.

Among the more draconian things that Messenger will purportedly be able to do, is access your camera and microphone, essentially turning your device into a surreptitious spying device. To spy on you!

I find it humorous that folks are all up in arms over Facebook’s attempts to track it’s users, as if it’s a case of first impression.

The truth of the matter is we’ve long since given up any reasonable expectation of privacy.

The day you visited your first website, you allowed cookies into your life.

Cookies promised faster load times, the instant recall of previously identified preferences, and a host of behind the scenes functions to take place, all to make your browsing experience better – and to know where you browsed (and what you did when you got there).

When you got your first cell phone, you agreed to be tracked.

All those cell towers helped to ensure call quality wherever you went – and kept track of wherever you went.

Today, when you install apps, you agree to let them access you contacts or calendar or Facebook profile, or whatever innocuous piece of information they request.

We think nothing of letting some application vendor post on our behalf, or access the data on our devices.

Instinctively, we click “Accept” and happily tap away on our devices like assimilated members of the Borg.

The outrage we feel about today’s Facebook Messenger revelation is feigned.

Can’t believe Facebook is mining your personal data?

So what do you do?

Update your Facebook status and let all your friends know.

You’re an ass.

If you’re really not trying to have Big Brother in your business, stay off of everything.

No internet.

No cell phone.

No wifi.

No Facebook.

Nothing digital at all.

If you’re not prepared to do that, then STFU about Facebook’s (or any other technology provider’s) invasion of your privacy.

Because privacy in the digital age is a fallacy.

You’re either on the grid, and none of your shit is private.

Or you’re off, and all the privacy in the world is yours.

And “off-the-grid” is relative.

Once you leave your house, you’re subject to the constant glare of the innumerable cameras dotting our city streets, stores, office buildings, gas stations, buses, trains and cabs.

As well as your YouTube crazed citizen i-reporters with camera phones on the ready looking for their 15 minutes of viral fame at the expense of some unsuspecting fool’s gaffe.

Unless you’re prepared to live like someone the run, with burners and throw-away phones, or a hacker, with fake online aliases, and constant IP-masking, accept that cats are collecting data on you constantly – and be good with it.

Today’s takeaway?

If you were among those alarmed by the recent Facebook Messenger revelation, the choice of what to do is really quite simple: red pill or blue?

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1 Comment

Filed under apps, iPhone, mobile, technology

One response to “Messenger says your shit is not secure. Now what?

  1. Levi Roberts

    Another excellent post! I agree with practically everything in this article.

    Before getting to the “this OS is better than that OS” debate – let me attempt to tell you what my qualifications are. I was a known Microsoft penetration tester back in the day for Windows XP and Windows Vista (AKA Longhorn) and am still a hobbyist penetration tester for various platforms. I have since moved on to wireless decryption of GSM, Wifi, Bluetooth, etc. I watch practically every blackhat conference and I know more on the subject than I probably should.

    With that out of the way – It’s the primary reason I decided to ditch all the alternatives and switch to Apple to begin with.

    To elaborate, Apple is built off of the very popular Unix backend – which if you’re not familiar.. is an Operating System kernel that’s THE defacacto security standard of implementations for high grade encryption and security. It’s used EVERYWHERE. Banking, online stores, military, hospital and home equipment like routers, TVs, etc.

    The ONLY reason I’m not using a full blown Linux environment is simple really.. the Window managers (I.E the graphics) all SUCK! Before getting into another hole, Apple has unparalleled and undebatable taste in aesthetics spending billions in research. With Apple you have the beautiful design and an unparalleled secure kernel at it’s core.. What you do on the web is a different story altogether.

    Back to the topic at hand – Windows kernels are KNOWN to have intentional backdoors. The popular Android alternative uses Unix as the backend but ditch the security due to the popular Java ecosystem which in itself is laughable when it comes to security. I once put a “secure” java database on a linux server and it was hacked in a matter of minutes. How? Oh, because of some sort of buffer over-flow bug that granted root access to the system. Yuck! Who wants bugs in their morning coffee?

    All in all, no system is perfectly safe unless you know what to protect yourself from. How can you protect yourself in the dark if you can’t see who or what you’re fighting? Yep, you guessed it.. Swinging in the wind.

    Now, before my long winded article-comment wears you out of energy entirely.. Apple iOS should be relatively safe from apps that have “spying eyes” due to the nature of each process being securely sandboxed from others. Even shared memory isn’t so shared on Apple devices. It in and of itself is another sandbox. Additionally, hardly ANY apps that are malicious even make it through the app store due to Apple’s extensive moderation process.

    Apple has very sophisticated application scanners that look out for unknown or unapproved API and system calls. In the event the app uses it, the application is rejected. Because of that reason – jailbreakers should be cautious when installing third party apps. No moderation process is involved with Cydia and other third party app stores!

    I apologize for the long post.

    TL;DR (Too long didn’t read) Don’t install software you don’t trust! It’s always good to have some form of security for testing what applications do before installing them on your primary devices.

    This will only protect you from companies that wish to steal your data. Big brother has no such limits. Your privacy is gone and has been since you decided to breathe in this world.

    Even “off the grid” people can be tracked these days. There are applications and psychology majors that can create a profile about you based off of criteria like what you buy at the store and so-forth. These things tend to be impressively accurate.

    I had a “friend” that could take one look at someone and tell you their occupation, what their probably hardships and situations were like, even their love life based off of facial expressions and the way “they carried themselves”. My mind was blown.

    A coffee shop with about a half hour to spare with one of these types of “friends” can tell you a lot about the people you surround yourself with. Don’t worry, I had “imposters” planted and they were called out almost immediately. Even while I was in the bathroom. hmmph. So much for the theory of reading me..

    Like

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