Much has been written about the security concerns of the President of the United States using a Blackberry – in particular about President Obama as he is more tech-savvy than previous Presidents.
I don’t claim to be an expert on how hackers do their thing, but I find it disturbing when journalists/media print or talk of the ways in which security can be breached. Why would we want to give the crazies of the world any tips on how to breach our national security? Exposing techniques for hacking or eavesdropping on the President of the United States is quite irresponsible – whether you know what you are talking about or not. Even if there is a justified vulnerability concern, don’t publicize it!
Two such articles do just that (links provided at the end of this story). My head was spinning after reading about the various technologies, the proposed vulnerabilities written by non-security experts, and the comments written by readers explaining why/how it would be virtually impossible to hack into the President’s Blackberry.
Both stories seem more focused on concerns that carrying around a Blackberry places the President at risk because his location could be determined either via GPS tracking of his device or by hackers being able to hone in on which device belongs to the President by discovering the serial number (IMEI) of his device.
One author gave an example of how this could be accomplished by saying, “By pointing an antenna at the White House, it’d be possible to instantly determine if the president was inside.” I think it’s safe to say that if you point an antenna, or anything at the White House, the Secret Service will be pointing guns at you. Is this author serious? Considering loitering by the south lawn can be a dangerous hobby, the likelihood of anyone snatching Obama’s data with a Pringles can hidden in a sleeping bag is unlikely. Besides, we already know he is living in the White House and his traveling schedule is public knowledge.
The author’s speculation of Pennsylvania Avenue vulnerability is considered amateur by real exploiters that spend time grabbing useful data in other countries.
The author also writes, “With a sophisticated-enough antenna, it might even be possible to determine which vehicle the president is sitting in while traveling in a motorcade…” I dare anyone to get close enough to a Presidential motorcade and see if they go undetected. What are you going to do? Follow the motorcade in your vehicle with your antenna sticking out your window? If you are getting close enough that an antenna can pick up which car the President is riding in, the Secret Service is not doing its job.
Besides, you can be assured that SIM Cards, IMSI’s, IMEI’s and other ID’s are being changed like socks. This brings me to an article published that hopefully puts to rest the paranoid and sensationalist writings about the security of the President’s Blackberry. The article talks of the team who invented the Presidential Secure Blackberry. Yes, someone actually thought this one through. Maybe now some journalists will be able to sleep at night. I know I won’t lose any sleep over this one.