Edward Snowden did the unthinkable when he revealed the NSA was collecting data on every American, and even people from around the globe. This revelation was shocking at the time, but it has lost traction now. However, what hasn’t changed is the fact that the NSA continues to collect data. What is alarming is that the National Security Agency is backed by Congress and the US Government. To make things worse, counterparts like the CIA are carrying out malicious attacks, like hacking and spying on unsuspecting victims without their consent.
Just like many others, you must be wondering: “Is the NSA spying on me?” The answer is yes. No matter where you are or what you are doing, you are a victim of the NSA. So how does NSA spying activities really occur? To find out, read on to learn more.
PRISM is THE tool used by the NSA to collect electronic data from major platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and others.
There is a lot that is still unknown about how PRISM works. There are theories about how it works, out of which the prominent one being that the NSA requests for specific data regarding an individual from tech companies like Facebook, Google, and others. The government justifies this by stating that the NSA is only allowed to collect data this way when granted permission by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.
The NSA acquired data from more than 534 million text messages and phone calls in 2017. Surprisingly, this number had tripled from the amount of data that was collected in 2015. And all of this took place when the Freedom Act apparently limited NSA’s access to data from telecommunication companies.
So far, not much is known about the amount of data that has been collected in 2018. But reports suggest that data collection from telecommunication companies are no longer an option for the NSA. Hopefully, that is the case, unless the NSA blatantly lied about its surveillance policies.
When you move around, cell phone towers are able to calculate your exact GPS coordinates. Even though the NSA has stated that it does not collect such data, cell phone providers are still required to provide the information when asked to do so by a court.
The worst part about all this is that users do not have to be the subject of an inquiry for your data to be handed over, it can be given away without notice.
The NSA is well equipped to infiltrate computer equipment. Their specialized hacking unit, codenamed Tailored Access Operations, have managed to come up with an extensive number of hacking exploits. This means the NSA can easily compromise IT systems and consumer electronic devices as they see fit.
When a hacking exploit has been discovered, the NSA does not fix the issue. It will commence to exploit it as much as possible, leaving everyone vulnerable in the process.
If you think the internet is safe, you are terribly mistaken.
The internet makes communication between different continents possible via fiber optic cables running under the sea, and they are more than capable of transmitting massive amounts of data in a matter of seconds.
By now, you should not be surprised to know that the NSA has compromised these cables as well. They have deals with local intelligence agencies to access these cables. If required, the NSA is also authorized to attach bugs to said cables using submarines.
How to Protect your Data
Seeing how much is at stake, and how easily the NSA can gain access to your private and confidential information, you must be wondering if there is a way to overcome this breach of privacy. All is not lost, as internet users can protect themselves online by using a VPN.
How a VPN works is that it gives internet users a new IP address thus, masking their own. They can connect to VPN servers from around the globe, giving them access to local content from that region while masking their own identity online. They also tend to provide several other features to bolster your security online and making a free internet a reality for you.
For this to work, internet users will need to find a reliable VPN they can count on. Not all VPNs are going to protect you online, especially VPNs that are offering their services for free. If they are not charging you for their services, they are most likely selling the information provided to them. Great care must be exercised to ensure you get a reliable and trustworthy VPN.
It does not hurt to make sure the VPN provider you opt for does not log your information either. VPN providers operating out of regions with zero data retention laws will not have to keep any of your information, so you can opt for their services. But even then, you will need to do your homework to make sure the VPN that interests you the most will meet your expectations let alone exceed them.
With the right VPN, you will come across a world of new possibilities. They can come in awfully handy for several use cases, so they should not be taken lightly.