Michael Gregg appeared Friday, September 16th on The Fox Morning Show in Houston to talk about the risks to personal privacy that are now occurring because of technology and how these threats will become more advanced and widespread for the foreseeable future. Michael Gregg has been asked to comment on several movies that deal with hacking such as “BlackHat” and the “Snowden” movie that has just been released. One of the issues that is highlighted in the Snowden movie is the ability to remotely access smart phones to spy on individuals. Is this real? Yes, it is!
Smartphone malware such as Trojans, are growing rapidly which allow hackers to remotely activate a phone’s camera and microphone. We see this type of attack mainly targeting activists and journalists in foreign countries, but it is likely to become widespread among U.S. consumers over the next five to ten years.
Another real threat to online privacy is the growth of the Internet of Things (IoT). These are all of the devices out there from refrigerators, TVs, cars, and medical devices that have new Internet connectivity built in and smart features. The problem is that they’re not developed with security in mind, so it’s relatively easy for someone to hack them. Just imagine someone taking over your smart TVs embedded camera, Internet-connected thermostat, or IoT door locks.
Criminal hackers have become more sophisticated and it appears we are entering into a new age where highly personal and intrusive cyber attacks are becoming far more common. The ability to spy on others in their own homes or harass them by hijacking things within their homes or cars. Cyber extortion, harassment, and identity theft could become much worse than they are today. Cyber crime is now a big industry where even foreign governments are funding hacker groups to harass their enemies. Examples of this can be seem in the hacking of the Clinton campaign, the DNC, and Colin Powell’s emails.
The recent data breaches of state voter registration databases and U.S. Olympic athletes’ medical records by Russian hackers are examples of how U.S. citizens can be caught in the middle of cyber conflicts between the U.S. and other countries. In the years ahead, we could see more instances of consumer data being stolen and dumped on the web by foreign hackers who oppose the U.S. government.