Compliance Management, Network Security

StingRays used near White House, other sensitive locations


A 2017 limited pilot project studying StingRay use in the U.S. Capitol found the devices discovered “anomalous activity” consistent with the use of the devices around the White House and other locations in the National Capitol Region (NCR), the Department of Homeland Security told Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., late last month.

While the study, conducted by the National Protection and Program Directorate (NPPD), didn't attribute the activity to any group or devices in particular, the senior official performing the duties of the undersecretary, Christopher C. Krebs, told Wyden in a letter that his office had shared its findings with “appropriate law enforcement and counterintelligence” operations.

Krebs told Wyden that DHS had received reports about the unauthorized use of StingRays and that “nefarious actors may have exploited” vulnerabilities in SS7 “to target the communications of American citizens.”

Recent reports have noted concerns that President Trump's unsecured smartphone could be exploited. He still wields at least two devices issued to him by the government – one for phone calls and the other that lets him access Twitter and some news sites.

The report cited officials as saying that the call phone had a camera and mic – which could be vulnerable to surveillance – and the “Twitter” phone isn't swapped out regularly. Obama's phone was swapped out monthly on the insistence of his security team.

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