NSA Offers Recommendation to Reduce Cellphone Exhaust

If you didn’t know better you would think the NSA is trying to turn over a new leaf. Credit Anne Neuberger.

A couple of years ago the NSA dissolved the Information Assurance Directorate – the group that helps the good guys. To me, this was an incredibly stupid move on the part of the NSA.

Fast forward to late last year and the NSA reincarnated IAD and called it the Cybersecurity Directorate. Same mission.

But the NSA had a horrible rep that they spent most of their effort on OFFENSIVE cyber and very little on DEFENSIVE cyber.

Anne Neuberger is the new head of the Cybersecurity Directorate and she has been working hard to change that reputation.

Photo of Anne Neuberger
Anne Neuberger

Fast forward to this week. The Cybersecurity Directorate released a memo on reducing the exposure from your cellphone data. What we affectionately call your digital exhaust.

They rightfully say that you cannot eliminate your digital exhaust but you can reduce it. While this article is targeted at government employees, it is useful to anyone who is concerned about their digital footprint.

They explain that just having your phone turned on, even if location tracking and your GPS are off, gives location information to apps, who collect and sell it. Even if you phone is in airplane mode, you could be giving away your location.

The whole idea of telling people how to reduce their footprint goes against the NSA’s offensive mission. Kudos to Anne Neuberger.

The memo also talks about tracking you from your fitness device and other items like this. The feds had a virtual heart attack recently when a bunch of data appeared from, I think, Fitbits, that showed this strange activity pattern in a place where no one should be. Like, perhaps, a secret base run by special operations soldiers. Oops.

So if this is a subject that is of interest to you, check it out.

Even if it is just out of curiosity. Credit NSA via Cyberscoop

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