Teardrops on your router

“Taylor Swift is the information security icon the world needs,” says the Grauniad:

The superstar has long spoken out about her desire to stay secure. More than a typical celebrity’s fondness for the sort of privacy that involves massive propertes to defeat the long paparazzi lenses, Swift has frequently shown a keen understanding of why — and how — digital security is important to her. In a Rolling Stone interview in 2014, she revealed that she kept the only full version of her forthcoming album, 1989, on her iPhone — and would only play it on headphones, for fear of wiretaps. “Don’t even get me started on wiretaps. It’s not a good thing for me to talk about socially. I freak out … I have to stop myself from thinking about how many aspects of technology I don’t understand.” The article continues: “‘Like speakers,’ she says. ‘Speakers put sound out … so can’t they take sound in? Or’ — she holds up her cellphone — ‘they can turn this on, right? I’m just saying. We don’t even know.'”

Sound familiar? It’s only Swift more or less predicting this week’s iPhone “hellbug” that briefly let anyone with your phone number call you on FaceTime and listen in via your phone’s mic before you picked up, without your knowledge or consent. Maybe we should have listened closer.

I have long believed that Swift knows more about this stuff than she’s willing to let on. Perhaps the first giveaway was in the “Blank Space” video, in which she slings a pricey cell phone into the water. But not just any pricey cell phone, no: it’s a Samsung Galaxy S5. Waterproof.

And just incidentally:

Swift’s extreme caution has even led to the creation of a Twitter fan account, SwiftOnSecurity. It is genuinely the most informative cybersecurity resource on the internet.

A staple of the weekly search-strings tour is a request for the “real identity” of @SwiftOnSecurity. Here’s the deal: until I have some compelling reason to think otherwise, I’m going to assume it’s actually Taylor Swift. Sometimes hiding is best done in plain sight.

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