Fandango is the host of Fandango Provocative Question
Welcome once again to Fandango’s Provocative Question.
My provocative question this week stems from some disturbing articles I’ve been reading about spyware called Pegasus, which was developed by an Israeli cyberarms firm. Pegasus is spyware that can be covertly installed on mobile phones and tablets running most versions of iOS and Android. It exploits vulnerabilities on those operating systems.
According to the Washington Post and other prominent media sources, Pegasus not only enables the keystroke monitoring of all communications from a phone (texts, emails, web searches), but it also enables phone call and location tracking, as well as the ability hijack both the mobile phone’s microphone and camera, thus turning it into a constant surveillance device.
In short, Pegasus in a highly invasive tool, and can spy on almost any device and any social media networks and messaging apps. So far, it has been used by some, shall we say, unscrupulous governments to monitor smartphones belonging primarily to journalists, activists, business executives, lawyers, government officials, and perceived “enemies of the state.”
Knowing that spyware like Pegasus is out there, and that it can be used to hijack your smartphone, record your keystrokes, your voice communications, and your camera without any actions or knowledge on your part, my proactive question is…
How vulnerable do you feel about potential hacks or intrusions while using your smartphone? And if you do feel vulnerable, what steps, if any, are you taking to protect yourself and your data?
This is a very disturbing and scary idea. That someone out there can hack into my phone, laptop, or social media account and monitor my activity. That they can hack into my private files and steal my information is even more scary!
My only solace is that I am not that important, interesting, or wealthy to warrant that kind of attention. There have been attempts from hackers to gain my passwords by pretending to call from my bank but since the bank keeps on warning us not to give any information on phone or email, I was saved from doing that. We are also told that the bank never calls or emails us to ask for sensitive information.
I take other steps to make sure that my phone cannot be used by unauthorized persons. And I keep away from questionable websites. But having said that, one never knows when a virus, firmware, or spyware can sneak into our devices.
And in that eventuality, I don’t think that I can do anything to protect my data. So as I said, I console myself by telling myself that no one is interested in me or my data and won’t attempt to hijack it.
Perhaps a hollow consolation?