We know who, who, why and what of Pegasus in Poland recently. And do we know how much each of us follows each day?
According to Maslow’s classic hierarchy, a sense of security (and more importantly, cybersecurity) is at the root of the hierarchy of human needs. Therefore, it must be provided to every citizen. And in fact, we read in gov.pl that cybersecurity “One of the main tasks of the Ministry of Digitization.” Unfortunately The “Law of July 5, 2018 on the National Cyber Security System” and the “Cyber Security Strategy of the Republic of Poland for the period 2019-2024” do not include individual citizens, but only relate to state security, that is, in fact: the rulers . And since the liquidation of the Ministry of Digitization in October 2020, the protection of the country has come into question. Especially since in studies cybersecurity always appears in the context of many cyber threats – often not fully researched – that threaten almost everyone who uses the Internet.
Are we aware of online threats?
The “Feeling Safe in Cyber” study conducted in February 2021 with funding from the Political Justice Fund, showed that in the past year up to 30% of people were unaware of the threats lurking in the web (eavesdropping, stalking, data loss, theft or fraud ) – whether by computer or phone. One in ten of us have fallen victim to some form of Internet fraud. However, there are no specific precautions…
What really threatens us?
Tracking apps are one of the most dangerous cyber threats. They are officially used to fight terrorism, Covid-19, and ordinary abuse. Long before Pegasus, we knew, among other things, of following Americans with Prism, which, among others, Microsoft, Google or Apple joined, among others. The United States also runs (with participation UK, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand) tracking electronic devices worldwide Echelon system. The US National Security Agency also uses Xkeyscore (described in detail by Edward Snowden) to collect data from 700 servers located in 150 locations around the world. Most similar to Pegasus, the Predator program, recently attacked more than 50,000. phones in 100 countries around the world.
There is no place to write about the myriad usual commercial software to spy on “ordinary” people to gain access to their bank accounts or emails, especially since we are hacked and get data almost every day, even by opening a strange email…
How does the patient feel about it?
There is an ongoing debate about monitoring 3 specific people with Pegasus (although there are many bugging them). There is no longer an intense debate about Google monitoring everyone, even though it matters to all of us. Much depends on the interpretation of the material obtained. What can you learn from photos with the family and what can be learned from a map of the places visited. Interpreting reports on Facebook from vacations during illness can be learned from ZUS. It is therefore not surprising that subjects who are monitored do not talk about their feelings, and no one asks how much they affect them, for example their families. Consciously posting vacation photos on Facebook is one thing and watching her while browsing his wife’s swimsuit style is another…
Research shows that a very high percentage of people accept regulations without reading them. It’s no surprise, then, that a Polish policeman apparently took two minutes to check your locations (without getting anyone’s approval) – even a year ago. “Legal hacking”, also known as “government hacking” is practiced at both the upper and local levels of government.
Already in 2019, the human rights defender’s report “Osiodłam Pegaza…” stated that:
For several years, the status of a citizen as a potential victim of abuses by secret services has deteriorated significantly. (…]Legislative changes adopted in 2016 deepened the deficit in the protection of civil rights.
Tracking by Google is the same as services activity on the web?
Exactly what Pegasus and many other programs of this type track, Google also tracks: personal data, Internet and application activity, locations, movies viewed on YT, viewing settings, etc.
In a report on data collection by technology companies, Security.org has prepared. Google got the worst possible rating (even weaker than Facebook): “F” (1/5). The competition with DucDuckGo shows how much data Google actually collects:
Unfortunately, there are quite a few differences between Pegasus and Google tracking
Google has permission for its actions because it asks users for permission to do so. It even asks what will happen to our data after we stop using the account. Additionally, you can deselect the option to receive periodic reminders about your privacy settings. Run typical spyware (including Pegasus) – you have no effect.
Data obtained by Pegasus is reportedly sent to Israeli servers. Google humbly declares that “We maintain Servers are everywhere GlobalismYour data may therefore be processed on servers located outside your country of residence.”
The cost of a single user tracking license with Pegasus is said to be 100,000 zlotys. Partners pay less for Google to track us, but on a much larger scale. In addition, we participate in payments without reflexively checking all approvals and payments in the most expensive currency in the world: information about ourselves.
How do you take care of your safety on the Internet?
It can be said that in digital life it is like a board game: everyone gets the same tools and possibilities at the beginning, and it is only up to him how to use them. Achieving security is a process and we will not be 100% secure. Tracking, spying, surveillance, tracking, eavesdropping, eavesdropping, and generally accessing private and commercial data are inevitable aspects of internet usage. Therefore, it is important not only to be aware of the risks, but also to have a sober approach to sharing yourself online. And since ZUS verifies the right to unemployment benefit on Facebook, the saying “You’re not on Facebook, you aren’t” – doesn’t apply.
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