Internet spying might sound like a big step but it is not a nightmare when you have already informed the person who you are going to spy. Well, this is how Ars tested their Internet surveillance by spying on National Public Radio (NPR). The NPR tech correspondent Steve Henn agreed to be part of the tests and allowed the researchers to keep a watch on him. So basically, Henn was representing everyone who uses Internet-connected devices.
A special testing gear had been designed for this purpose and it was the PwnPlug R2 which is a piece of professional penetration testing gear designed by Pwnie Express CTO Dave Porcello and his team. This device would be able to catch all the internet traffic generated by the computers and smartphones at Henn’s home. This allowed a pint-sized version to be created of the Internet surveillance infrastructure used by the National Security Agency.
Through this experiment it was being seen whether or not a passive observer of Internet traffic still learn much about a target in this post-Snowden world? The results were quite surprising and you will realize how much exposed we let ourselves be by simply going online. As the location and setup was finalized for the PwnPlug, Henn dialed up Porcello and put him on speakerphone. Soon after the Ethernet cable was snapped in, Henn turned on his iPhone and connected to the PwnPlug’s Wi-Fi network. Porcello watched remotely as data from Henn's network suddenly poured into a specially configured Pwnie Express server.
Checking the phone revealed that all Mail, Notes, Safari, Maps, Calendar, Messages, Twitter, and Facebook were running in the background and had been making connections to the Internet.