Nobody Can Detect Surveillance 🙄
“If the government were on your phone they would be invisible.” I had that brought up by a family member.
People who believe that the FBI, NSA or any government hacker have magical powers are a bit delusional. Government hackers are not magic.
NSA employees can definitely wonk the wonk, but implemented the R6 protocol in a unique way which made them traceable around the world as the Equation Group.
Even the best of the best at NSA make mistakes just like the rest of us. One should assume neither an alphabet agency nor any APT anywhere in the world could operate error free.
I had an anecdote told me that might help people see this differently than “if government were on your phone you would never find them, since they would be invisible.”🙄
The last combined federal/state task force making statewide drug arrests in Arkansas a few years ago is where this story begins. I happened to run across a guy afterward who I knew was involved in drugs. The news media reported that the massive, statewide raids resulted from a two year long investigation. There must have been phone surveillance, so I asked him about the raids.
He admitted that he had been arrested at a drug house. I casually asked him if he had noticed anything funny on his cell phone before arrest. He said he had. He also said that he thought he and his budz were under investigation well before the raid. For a few months prior to his arrest he noticed his phone apps and phone background would change funny colors when in use. He also started having very noticeable static on some phone calls. His phone started freezing a lot and slowing down noticeably. He suddenly had a lot of “app unexpectedly closed” notifications as well as a significant increase overall in notifications of a variety of web connectivity issues.
He also said that at the drug house strange things were happening. About two weeks before the raid there was suddenly a lot of traffic on the normally quiet street. At one point about a week before the raid he noticed three guys across the street. One was pushing a lawnmower over grass so short that it clearly did not need mowing. The other two guys were just standing in the yard looking over at the drug house.
He said he told everyone he thought they were under surveillance, but they shrugged it off. He also shrugged it off too, until getting busted about a week after Operation Lawn Boy.
Drug users and distributors often get paranoid about surveillance. After a dozen or so false alarms experienced criminals shrug it off. The things dude noticed were perhaps vague, except Operation Lawn Boy. That was a classic example of three glowies glowing. However the totality of the oddities, as well as the time frames, are the lessons from this anecdote. Non-specific oddities are a major red alert when they happen well above baseline frequency in two or more different contexts.
Dude said after his arrest he was offered a chance to work for police unlocking phones. He was just an ordinary drug user with a special talent who happened to know “big guys.” He wasn't a big guy himself, in case anyone wonders why he was offered a job.
He also said that he shouldn’t have talked himself out of his “paranoia” and should have immediately left the area when the funny biz started on his phone.
Had he checked out the “static pattern” on his cell phone he might have found calls to his children, wife or girlfriend (assuming they weren't associated with the drug gang themselves) as well as calls to doctors and nurses were static-free. His calls if any to an attorney may have been full of static. It's hard to say. This example was not FBI. However, paying obsessive attention to detail and looking for patterns is how one discovers an APT on one's phone.
This investigation and subsequent statewide arrests were noted in news media to be a DEA led task force with state/local police.
Incredulity, the mental version of the Great Chinese Firewall. Nothing troublesome is allowed to penetrate, especially if it might be a big scary idea ……….. maybe like ……… DUDES!! WE ARE UNDER SURVEILLANCE BY A LARGE TEAM OF AGENTS!!!
“No we aren't. You're just paranoid.”
Being right 99 percent of the time does no good if you were wrong the one time it counted😉. A false negative is a much more serious matter in countersurveillance than a false positive.