CyberNews Briefs

US Issues Warning Over Commercial Spyware

The US government has issued a new warning regarding possible targets of commercial spyware. The entity also provided guidance on how individuals can protect themselves from unwarranted surveillance. In the announcement, the US National Counterintelligence and Security Center (NCSC) stated that governments across the world are using commercial surveillance software to target dissidents, journalists, activists, and other figures. Commercial surveillance tools pose a serious counterintelligence and security risk to US personnel and systems, the NCSC stated. In addition, the notice explained how spyware is being deployed to target mobile and other IoT devices using Wi-Fi and cellular data connections. This means that in some cases, victims are infected with no action on their behalf.

The guidance document also warned that spyware allows the attacker to monitor phone calls, device locations, and most content on the device including text messages, files, chats, messaging app content, contacts, and browsing history. Advice for potential targets included to update device software regularly, avoid clicking on links in unsolicited messages, encrypt and password protect devices, and regularly restart devices to help remove malware. In addition, the NCSC also urged individuals to only use trusted VPNs, disable geolocation features, and cover the camera.

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