22 March 2018

A safe haven: Snowden’s new app

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In a joint project between the former CIA analyst turned whistleblower and the Freedom of the Press Foundation, Snowden has created a FREE app for Android that can transform your mobile phone into a security system that fits in your pocket. It’s called “Haven”. reports citing

Announced on December 22nd, app basically works like this: install the Haven app on your telephone, and then put the phone anywhere you feel is in need of security, be it your office, by your computer, wherever. The app then turns on the mobile's microphone in order to listen for intruders, or it will turn on the camera to catch it on video. The app also features an accelerometer which can sense movement of the phone itself, as well as a light sensor in order to distinguish changes in light and has a monitor to detect whether the phone has been either plugged in or unplugged, reports tech website Gizmodo.

In order to stay up-to-date with what's happening with your phone or in its proximity, it can send alerts in real time, encrypted to your primary phone when it detects an intruder, writes news website The Intercept. The app offers the option to use a Tor onion service website, commonly referred to as a "darknet" site, using the Tor Browser on a different device in order to view your security alerts. This will allow you to prevent anyone else from accessing these logs. The Intercept further reports that Haven supports the encrypted messaging service "Signal", but can also send notifications via SMS messages, which might be more reliable, but can be intercepted.

The original purpose for the new security app was to address the problem of an "evil maid" attack. This is when someone gets access to your phone or other device while you are not present, and without your knowledge. According to science and technology magazine Wired, it is very difficult to prevent a person with physical access your computer from hacking it.

"Imagine if you had a guard dog you could take with you to any hotel room and leave it in your room when you're not there", Edward Snowden told Wired.

While the app is well suited to provide a free of charge app for the average Joe to download to protect from government intrusion or surveillance, it can also serve in more average and practical situations.

"This might be useful for teenagers who are concerned about their parents, or who are concerned about nosy partners, or friends. Or if you're in college and you're worried about your roommate," said Eva Galperin, director of cybersecurity for the Electronic Frontier Foundation according to The Intercept.

Users on Twitter had plenty to say in reaction to news of Snowden's new app capable of transforming your mobile phone into a portable security system.

2017.12.23 / 20:19
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