Spy war in your pocket – POLITICS

With the help of Derek Robertson

Mobile phones are becoming more important and more powerful. But they are not keeping up with phone spyware, which is becoming more aggressive and harder to detect.

This creates a disturbing vision of the future: one in which we all wear surveillance devices without intending to.

It sounds dystopian, but that future is more or less already here. politicians’ mobile devices, human rights activists, journalistsas well as other persons were compromised – all with the help of the so-called Pegasus spyware, created by the Israeli company NSO Group, which the Ministry of Commerce blacklisted last year. This advanced spyware can be installed on devices through so-called “zero-click” vulnerabilities, where the spyware installs itself without the target user clicking on a malicious link or taking any action to activate it. And once a Pegasus has gotten into a phone, there’s no easy way to tell it’s there.

So who’s protecting you? Mobile phone makers are some of the biggest and most complex software makers on the planet, and they’re worried.

“A world where no one can trust a phone in their pocket… it’s such a dangerous world,” says Shane Huntley, director of Google’s Threat Intelligence Group.

On Wednesday, Apple took steps to protect the devices of users who have been victims of spyware.including the start of “Lock Mode”, which blocks most message attachments, further secures web browsing, and blocks incoming calls if the user has not previously interacted with the caller. Apple will offer a reward of up to $2 million to threat researchers who discover vulnerabilities in lockdown mode.

Google is alerting customers whose devices are compromised by spyware and is constantly updating its Google Play Protect program to alert customers to potentially dangerous apps on their phones. Verizon claims to use anti-spyware software to protect devices.

NSO claims that Pegasus cannot be used with US numbers, but the danger has already grown far beyond the boundaries of one company. Google said it monitors more than 30 groups selling vulnerabilities or surveillance capabilities. And last month Google reported the Italian company RCS Labs. wash spyware found on phones in Italy and Kazakhstan.

As politicians find their phones increasingly at risk of being compromised and spyware gains public attention, Capitol Hill could play its part.

Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Oregon), a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, told me that Congress needs to pass legislation “setting mandatory cybersecurity standards” for mobile devices, forcing the FCC to require telephone companies to fix vulnerabilities and impose sanctions. spy companies such as NSO.

“The US government can do a lot to combat foreign hackers, predators and criminals who use spyware to spy on Americans,” Wyden said. “Unfortunately, his response was too weak, too late, to protect American families or our national security.”

Since crypto money has become a force in American technology and finance, so in politics – on both sides of the aisle.

After last week’s primaries in Illinois and elsewhere, Stephanie Murray of crypto news outlet The Block summed up the results. successes and failures some of the most famous cryptocurrency-funded PACs, including the prolific FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried. Protect our future PAC.

So far, the results of crypto money have been mixed: In Illinois, where Protect Our Future has spent almost $1 million on the congressional race, three Democrats they backed have made it to the general election. But Protect Our Future’s Republican-friendly colleague, the Federal American Dream Action Committee, founded by FTX Digital Markets co-CEO Ryan Salame, has spent large (over $2 million) funds on the Illinois Rep. Rodney Davis loss of effort against a Trump-backed member of the House of Representatives. Mary Miller.

Bankman-Fried quickly became the most prominent political figure in cryptocurrencies. donation of $16 million to various PACs only in April. His preferred candidate in Oregon’s high-profile May primary, Carrick Flynnlost the Democratic congressional nomination to a more experienced state legislator, but not before raising the profile of philosophy effective altruism that Flynn and his benefactor share. – Derek Robertson

Pencil, paper and some dice: There is no futuristic technology behind the Dungeons & Dragons tabletop RPG. So why wasn’t the game invented before the 1970s? Did people during the Great Depression have some sort of innate aversion to quasi-random fiction?

Scientist and writer Samuel Arbesman put this question in Blog Post yesterday, claiming that the game may have been partly inspired by the 1972 publication The Limits to Growth, a seminal work of futurism based on then-complex modeling of world demographic and agricultural trends. If we could model something this huge and complex with 1970s supercomputers, Arbesman argues, then it would be just a small leap to imagine a small capsule world on a table driven by a handful of polyhedral dice.

One problem with the theory: his readers were quick to point out that the history of board games predates The Limits to Growth, with the use of six-sided dice dating back to the 19th century. However, much of the formalized role-playing games that preceded D&D centered around less fantasy worlds, such as the world board game Diplomacyand even some of the RAND Corporation’s military role-playing experiments, as writer Jon Peterson points out in his genre history “Game of Peace”.

Still, Arbesman’s fixation on The Limits to Growth is timely, though perhaps not for the reasons he intended. Recently, this book turned 50 years old, which inspired scientists to look back and reevaluate the challenges and rewards of trying to predict the future. Derek Robertson

Stay in touch with the entire team: Ben Schrekinger ([email protected]); Derek Robertson[email protected]); Konstantin Kakaes (ur.[email protected]); and Heidi Vogt ([email protected]). Follow us on Twitter @DigitalFuture.

If you have received this newsletter, you may sign here. And read our mission statement is here.