Be careful of what you say, where you say it

Foreign spies and criminals in Washington, D.C., are using devices that can intercept cellphone calls and text messages from users who are completedly unaware, the U.S. government has revealed.

The Department of Homeland Security made the admission recently in answer to a request by Congress.

Indeed, the DHS says spies and others have erected towers in the region of the nation’s capital to intercept correspondence-communication.

Such devices, also known as “stingrays,” can track users’ location data through their mobile phones and can intercept cellphone calls and messages.

DHS said it has not determined the users behind such eavesdropping devices, nor the type of devices being used. The agency also did not elaborate on how many devices it unearthed, nor where authorities located them.

The eavesdropping devices impersonate a legitimate cell tower that can then trick nearby cellphone users into connecting to them, which then gives away one’s location data as well as his or her International Mobile Subscriber Identity or IMSI number.

D.C. is a hub for the U.S. intelligence community and others involved with the national security apparatus, including CIA, FBI and National Security Agency personnel who work or live in the nation’s capital.

Individuals who have failed to take steps to encrypt their phones could have their communications sent to such eavesdropping simulators.

While there has long been concern that foreign actors have used such devices, the AP reported the acknowledgement of such findings is the first time the federal government has spoken out on the issue.

The U.S. government has long remained mum on the subject, partly because it uses such equipment in its own operations.

DHS said it lacks the ability to track the use of the unauthorized simulators.

Time to turn the tables.

Perhaps the end of the Cold War deluded us into thinking that afterward, even unfriendly nations would refrain from spying on us and attempting to influence our government. If so, we were foolish. The world still is a dangerous place.

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