You bet they can. German researchers recently discovered hackers, and criminals can easily intercept your private messages and calls. Cellular networks may even use the most cutting edge encryption there is, but the security flaws are widespread and on devastating on a massive scale. In a Hamburg, Germany at a hacker conference it was disclosed that the SS7, the actual global network which allows carriers to route all services is so flawed it is crazy vulnerable. Hackers familiar with SS7 capabilities can easily forward calls to another number, redirect, and record any phone call in the world. This has frightening implications. They can manipulate the weaknesses of the SS7 for whatever purpose deemed. Our cell phones communications systems vulnerabilities are such that at some point this can be marketed to governing agencies in any country.
Which brings to mind the current controversy on NSA and Snowden; our eyes rolled and our heads shook in fearful discontent at something we already knew was happening, right? Unless you live under a rock, then you ought to know the power of government is in their unapologetic means of acquiring information. It is a given. Even as people shrieked and argued over the Snowden disclosures, even as technology gets more and more complex, even with this new hacker cell phone revelation, you have to at some point acknowledge truths. We are vulnerable. Every intersection of our life is transparent and subject to forcing us naked in the public eye. Now with the hackers rolling around in the SS7 cell phone communications we have to wonder what else is at risk? If recording your calls or decrypting them isn’t enough…how about tracking you? Or how about defrauding any entity you depend on to function in your life? It is very unnerving to know that the government can track you through your cell phone, but even more disturbing to think a criminal can.
We live in the era of Facebook photos of our kids subject to just a couple taps on the computer to reveal whereabouts, the sweet era of over governing and gray laws of questionable behavior, and now the technology tool everyone is dependent on isn’t so private either. Do you ever wonder what is next? Is there a little voice in the head which makes you wonder if you could fall victim or a family member could? Perhaps this era will be known as the ‘intrusion era’, as if gossip and secrets are just exploding into one big mess of victim chaos. Technology doesn’t seem so grand when it cannot provide us a sense of security and privacy.
Try to dissect all of this and you will discover, every bit is a double edge sword. A big hypocrisy. We want GPS, but we don’t want others to GPS us. Our government can listen in on conversations which may avert a terrorist attack, but don’t stomp on our personal freedoms. Facebook is a social sharing place so our personal drama belongs on it lest we forget the creepy consequences of doing so. This is the world we live in today.
So, are we really so surprised about anything hackers can do? That is why they are called hackers. The big question you should be asking yourself is “why would anyone want to listen in on my conversations anyways?” unless of course you are up to no good. But, we won’t go into the hypocrisy of moral ambiguity. Save for another day.