NATO soldiers are scrambling to defend themselves against an onslaught of phone tracking attempts. According to a report from The Wall Street Journal, NATO soldiers in Eastern Europe have experienced a wave of phone and account hacking attempts from an unknown entity.
Russia is the primary suspect.
NATO soldiers have reportedly experienced attacks targeting their iCloud accounts, Facebook profiles, and even individual smartphone devices.
These phone tracking attempts, if successful, could be used to track troop movements. On a more sophisticated level, the attacks could be used to track personal data of NATO troops.
Some of the attacks reportedly involved malware stealing contact information from users’ smartphones, then deleting that contact information.
There are currently 4,000 NATO troops deployed in Eastern Europe near the Russian border. The Journal has confirmed at least six specific SMS tracking cases involving soldiers. Those attacks have ranged from a compromised Facebook account to fraudulent “Find My iPhone” requests.
More worrying is that one attack seemed to involve a Stingray-like device. Stingray devices are used by law enforcement to mimic cell towers. The fake cell tower intercepts data sent between the smartphone and the carrier. It’s possible that someone – like Russian intelligence – is using Stingray devices in an attempt to intercept data from NATO soldiers’ phones.
Stingray devices were recently declared unconstitutional without a warrant in the United States.
The Attacks Are Linked to Russian State Actors
Russia is more than just a possible suspect: they’re the only real suspect.
The Wall Street Journal report linked above names Russian state actors as the primary suspects. The Journal cites US officials who believe drones and other sophisticated tracking equipment were involved in the tracking attempts.
We don’t have to look far to find previous evidence of Russian tracking attempts. Earlier in 2017, a Russia-backed campaign sent malware-laced Twitter messages to more than 10,000 employees of the Department of Defense. That malware was designed to allow Russian tracking bots to take control of any device that followed the attached link.
Russian trackers also used phishing techniques to steal and leak data from the Clinton campaign in the 2016 election. That’s the infamous attack that was supposedly directed personally by Vladimir Putin, according to a report by The Office of the Director of National Intelligence released in January.
Similar smartphone tracking attempts were reported in France in the leadup to Macron’s election.
Ultimately, we live in a world where cyberwarfare is becoming more important than conventional warfare. Smartphone trackers are just a natural extension of that war. To download your own military-grade smartphone tracker at a consumer-grade price, check out SpyStealth today.
Header photo courtesy of NATO.int