Ex-computer intelligence consultant at the United States (US) National Security Agency (NSA) Edward Snowden has said that smartphones are “worse than a spy in your pockets”, reports Geo News.
Snowden urged governments to impose a global delay on the international spyware trade or face a world in which no mobile phone is safe from state-sponsored hackers, reported The Guardian.
In the wake of the revelations about Israeli NSO Group, whose software Pegasus was used to hack mobile phones for surveillance, Snowden said the consortium’s findings illustrated “how commercial malware had made it possible for repressive regimes to place vastly more people under the most invasive types of surveillance”.
“If you don’t do anything to stop the sale of this technology, it’s not just going to be 50,000 targets. It’s going to be 50 million targets, and it’s going to happen much more quickly than any of us expect,” he warned.
Snowden said commercial malware such as Pegasus was so powerful that ordinary people could in effect do nothing to stop it.
Asked how people could protect themselves, he said: “What can people do to protect themselves from nuclear weapons?”
“There are certain industries, certain sectors, from which there is no protection, and that’s why we try to limit the proliferation of these technologies. We don’t allow a commercial market in nuclear weapons.”