- My age:
- I'm just over sixty
- Meeting with:
- I prefer gentleman
- I know:
- Riding a bike
By Dustin Volz. National Security Agency collected million records of phone calls and text messages of Americans last year, more than triple gathered ina U. The sharp increase from million occurred during the second full year of a new surveillance system established at the spy agency after U. The spike in collection of call records coincided with an increase reported on Friday across other surveillance methods, raising questions from some privacy advocates who are concerned about potential government overreach and intrusion into the lives of U. The records collected by the NSA include the s and time of a call or text message, but not their content.
Mobile devices have changed how we work and how we live our lives. As low-tech cell phones have transformed into smartphones that handle huge data traffic every day, our devices have also become coveted target for hackers. Glacier was born from a desire to rethink the security of mobile devices. After recognizing that high-profile executives and high net worth individuals were at risk when communicating through mobile devices, White deed an offering that provides tailor-made security for text and video communications using end-to-end encryption. Looking for more insider scoops on how intelligence agencies operate?
You can also stay connected with all things Tresorit through Twitter and LinkedIn. My name is Balazs Judik, and I am your new host. Hey, Alex! Welcome to the show. Nice having you here. Alex: I'm doing great.
It's a- I'm in Western- Midwest Michigan. The weather is starting to turn. It's been 40 degrees for the last couple of months, so I'm excited for the weather to change.
Balazs: Ah, sweet! I think, based that we are on the other side of the world in Hungary, Budapest, it's quite a different weather here, but And I'm very interested to have this discussion with you.
Let's just start off with you doing a small intro about who you are, what you do, and how did you get to this opportunity to have a chat together? Alex: Yeah, absolutely. My name's Alex White.
Stanford students show that phone record surveillance can yield vast amounts of information
I am one of the co-founders of a company called Glacier Security. We do a light variety of mobile security, of specifically secure communications. We provide most of our solutions to governments, high-net-worth individuals, high-risk individuals, as we call them.
Those could be someone who is traveling overseas, for example, you know, going to a conference, you know, staying in a place, you know, they may never been before. And also, we work with some NGOs, right? So, you know, how do you- how do we protect those comms, as people go over and do humanitarian aid type work? So Glacier, you know, we were formed out of the government. I'm sure we'll probably get into that as well later in the conversation.
But yes, so our focus is mobile security.
Nsa recommends rebooting a phone every week to stop hacking
And we also do quite a bit of other kind of one-off security, just because of our backgrounds. Balazs: Right. Speaking of background, so how did it all start? Because I assume, like, basically you guys started inright? Alex: Yeah, so Glacier was formed out of the intelligence community. Myself and a couple of- like two other co-founders, we met in the IC. Now we saw a huge issue with mobile security from all the different organizations, both within our organization as well as, you know, other government groups, other commercial groups that we'd been working with.
And, you know, we knew from being in this community that there's so much risk. We knew what was possible from different types of attack vectors, and it just made sense that we, you know, also provide that level of security for- you know, for our people, our customers that we're working with, for example. So I- yeah, so I started, you know, right out of college, right out of undergrad.
I applied to two places. So fast forward, you know, several months of not hearing from, you know, either of them, I get this massive packet, you know, mailed to my parents' house. And at that point, I was traveling Europe for my- for study abroad.
Nsa in mobile
And my parents called me and they said, "Hey, you know there's this Department of Defense document that was mailed to- you know, to the home. It has your name on it. Because, again, I'd only applied for, you know, two places.
So I get back. I get back from study abroad, and I fill out this information. And then there's this whole entire process between my junior year of undergrad and my senior year of undergrad, it was just processing.
Like making sure that everything checked out for me, you know, to do this. And for that- and that position was actually just a summer internship program, right, so it was only going to be for potentially three months.
Now, at that point of all- I've committed. I've committed to, you know, making this happen. So it took a really long time for processing. The summer internship was probably one of the best experiences that I had. And at the end of that summer internship program, they offered me a position, which they usually do for most of the summer intern gr. And then from there, it was just- I spent- it went by fast. I spent almost ten years in the community.
Balazs: And what was the role that they offered you? And what was the role that you were working later on?
Alex: Yeah. So my undergrad program- I was focused on network security, right. So primarily Cisco was kind of like the hot thing, you know, ten or fifteen years ago. So most of my undergrad was, yeah, network security, network engineering, deing networks. When I applied for this position, they knew my background, but the actual position was very generic.
It was like Global Network Engineer, right? And you're just like, "I don't know what that is. I don't know what that is. A lot of more education. So just, you know, network de in the real world, right.
Nsa 'tracking' hundreds of millions of mobile phones
So in college, I felt like we were always doing lab work. We never really got hands-on on real networks. At that point, it was just completely overwhelming about the whole- how this massive community, you know, communicates together. Yeah, that was my initial position. Balazs: Was it more, the position, about defensive technologies — whether about research Alex: Yeah, so I started more in the defensive side of things, right. So you have all these networks that are created all over the world. You know, the whole idea is, you know, protecting the warfighter, right.
Can you spy on a phone when it is turned off?
So networks that could be potentially providing data to them. Not necessarily like- any type of- there isn't one specific data, you know, like classified data, like something easy, right. Something simple. Like how do they communicate back home to their friends and family? You know, that was one of the areas, too. So how do you secure those networks?
How the nsa can 'turn on' your phone remotely
So a lot of like firewall-type diagnostics and that kind of stuff. At that point, I knew nothing about the agency, right. I knew that they kind of separate things into, you know, different types of And then I kind of transitioned, once I took a full-time position, it was actually another internship.
But this was more of a development program. So you basically can go into these programs for you to have an opportunity to hop between the organizations every six months, for example. And that really gives the individual like the student like an understanding of how the entire government, how the entire intelligence community, works. And then from there, you kind of have an idea, you create relationships, and you have an idea of where you might want to go after you get done with the program.