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Snowden Team Launches App That Turns Your Phone into Mini Surveillance Station

23 Décembre 2017

We have seen several instances where local law enforcement officials get access to devices without the target's knowledge.

National Security Agency (NSA) whistleblower Edward Snowden is back, this time with an app called "Haven" that will transform any Android smartphone into a sensor that can detect intrusions.

Haven is meant to be used with a cheap Android phone, effectively making it a burner that you won't mind losing should someone steal or destroy it.

Haven's primary objective, then, is to guard your laptop or other devices against anyone who might try to tamper with them.

Haven uses your phone's built-in hardware - cameras, microphones, light sensors, and accelerometers - to monitor the room in your absence.

"The concept of Haven, as imagined by Micah F. Lee and Edward Snowden, is based on the notion that any smartphone could be turned into a personal, portable security device, to watch for unexpected intrusions into physical spaces", Guardian project founder Nathan Freitas wrote in a blog post.

Perhaps you're in a hotel room in Hong Kong, anxious that a world power is attempting to spy on your actions.

The app is designed for Androids and is specifically geared at protecting laptops from being tampered with
The app is designed for Androids and is specifically geared at protecting laptops from being tampered with

Haven even captures light disturbances - like a flashlight in a dark room - using the built-in technology that auto-adjusts screen brightness when lighting conditions change.

The app is the result of a collaboration between The Guardian Project - a project that aims creates secure apps, services and devices for secure communications - and the Freedom of the Press Foundation - which protects and defends "adversarial journalism". Basically, numerous precautions you might take to protect your cybersecurity can go out the window if someone gains physical access to your device.

Since this phone records everything, wouldn't this actually open you to more problems?

If that's not enough, you can configure the device to work with Orobot, which turns your phone into a TOR Onion Service - essentially a darknet server, although not as scary as that might sound. Recorded events are saved locally to the device rather than in the cloud, though the user receives "secure notifications" when the device does detect something. It could also be used by a software developer who might be anxious about someone getting into their laptop, a college student anxious about a nosy roommate, and other such real life use cases where intruders aren't expected to steal the phone itself.

The app is now in beta so there might be some false positives.

Haven is available as a beta in the Google Play Store.

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Snowden Team Launches App That Turns Your Phone into Mini Surveillance Station