Researchers Test Phones to See if They're Secretly Listening

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Siri, are you spying on me?

Researchers put an iPhone and a Samsung phone into a room, playing cat and dog food advertising for 30 minutes.

The security specialists kept apps open for Facebook, Instagram, Chrome, SnapChat, YouTube, and Amazon with full permissions granted to each platform…They repeated the experiment at the same time for three days, and noted no relevant pet food adverts on the “audio room” phones and no significant spike in data or battery usage.

The results won’t surprise those in the information security industry who’ve known for years that the truth is that tech giants know so much about us that they don’t actually need to listen to our conversations to serve us targeted adverts.

For some people, maybe the belief that phones secretly spy on us is less terrifying than learning how much data these corporations actually have on us.

This Google Nest Device Has a Secret Microphone

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The Nest Secure smart home hub has had a secret microphone this whole time. But poor Google just plain forgot to tell us.

On Tuesday, a Google spokesperson told Business Insider the company had made an “error.” “The on-device microphone was never intended to be a secret and should have been listed in the tech specs. That was an error on our part,” the spokesperson said.

Silly Google, tricks are for kids. Also, get a HomePod.

A Spy Linked to Black Cube Was Caught

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DJ Pangburn tells the story of how a spy linked to Black Cube was caught by Associated Press reporters and Citizen Lab.

Black Cube, which is based in Tel Aviv and London, has used undercover agents to approach women who had accused movie producer Harvey Weinstein of sexual misconduct, and dispatched operatives to probe Obama national security aide Ben Rhodes and another White House staffer involved with the Iran nuclear deal.

It’s a long read but a fascinating story.

iOS 10 Spying Possible With iCloud Backups

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A scary piece from Motherboard brings to attention a tool for iOS 10 spying. A company called Mobistealth sells a special monitoring tool that can pull data from iCloud backups. And the device doesn’t need to be jailbroken to work.