How were the Saudis able to continuously compromise the most sensitive communications of the richest man in the World?
In yesterday’s breaking news, Gavin De Becker, the head of celebrity security company in charge of Jeff Bezos’ protection for years, concluded a deep and expensive investigation on how some very confidential messaging between Bezos and his girlfriend leaked to a US newspaper, which states:
“Our investigators and several experts concluded with high confidence that the Saudis had access to Bezos’ phone, and gained private information”.
Although there is no certainty it was the Saudis, it is quite probable that Mr De Becker (i.e Bezos) would not have stated such a decisive accusations if they did not have by strong evidence.
Since the Saudis are far from having the most skilled intelligence in the World – and since the Vault 7 and Shadow Brokers scandals proved how even the most advanced state-grade hacking tools often find their way to the dark web – what hope is there of any meaningful privacy for the communications of millions of high net-worth individuals, executives, politicians and human rights activists?
Nonetheless, a majority of those millions believes – as Bezos did – that using a secure app like Wire, Signal or Telegram on an iPhone, or some top “cryptophones”, can provide them with meaningful protection.
How is it possible?
That’s because the level of misconceptions, misinformation and outright deception on those matters in the media is huge. Security agencies pretending to be “going dark” to induce criminals to abuse their IT. Secure IT providers and mainstream players like Apple over-selling their wares and posturing as privacy champions. And media following up as an echo chamber.
That’s because the monetary or political influence value for a hacker in spying a rich or powerful person is proportional to the time remains unnoticed.
That’s because, when a compromisation is discovered, it is very difficult for the police or a victim’s investigators to achieve a solid level of attribution and rarely the victim has anything to gain in public reporting of the hack.
But then, if there is such a huge latent demand, why companies don’t invest to build and offer decent levels of digital security and privacy?
That’s because, the ultimate reason why even the richest and most powerful are hackable in their most sensitive communications by even mid and mid-high-level hackers, is the need of security agencies to surveil and investigate suspects of grave grimes, which leads them to invest tens of billions of dollars yearly in breaking at birth and continuously all IT systems and devices beyond their “point of encryption” (which have become in the 90s too strong for them to break) – going all the way all the way down to operating system, CPU, fabrication and even the standard setting and certification bodies.
As in previous editions, at the 6th Free and Safe in Cyberspace in Geneva next April 9-10th – organized by the Trustless Computing Association and its spinoff TRUSTLESS.AI – we’ll be discussing how the most rich and powerful, and all of us, could soon access IT devices – complementary to our everyday ones – that can both offer radically unprecedented levels of privacy and security, while concurrently enabling legitimate lawful access – through novel IT security paradigms, technologies, standard setting and certification bodies.
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