Spy vest capable of secretly stealing personal info - WNEM TV 5

Wearable spy vest capable of secretly stealing personal info

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Gamma Group makes a wearable spy vest. Gamma Group makes a wearable spy vest.

It seems like something straight out of a spy movie. The newest piece of high-tech spy gear is a wearable vest made by Gamma Group, an international surveillance and monitoring company.

"First you're excited because you think it could be something we could use to stop all the 9/11s, but then as you see it being applied, there is always the evil element," said Mohave County Commissioner Buster Johnson.

Johnson, who also sits on the National Association of Counties' Cyber Task Force Committee, said he's concerned about security not only for county computers and phones but for his employees as well.

Johnson said he's concerned about the vests because they're completely concealable.

"Somebody just walks next to you and takes every bit of information you have. If you're shot today, you're dead. You have no more problems. But if they steal your credit, the rest of your life, you have problems," said Johnson.

The wearable vest looks like bullet-resistant armor, but it's much thinner. Experts say it makes stealing wireless signals from phones or computers very simple. You can simply walk through a crowd and the vest will collect the information.

"On the back of it is the mobile unit that receives all the cell phone signals and then probably a small computer-type devise which is breaking the code," said Dr. Sayfe Kiaei, a professor at ASU's School of Electrical, Computer and Energy Engineering.

Kiaei said the vest is meant for government agencies and organizations that are trying to collect information on suspects or terrorists, but all bets are off it the technology gets into the wrong hands.

"It can get personal information about you. It can get your actual communication going on," he said.

Though Kiaei said it's nearly impossible to protect yourself entirely from advanced spy technology, he said there are ways to minimize being a victim.

"Always take steps to secure your information. If you have a password, don't put in 123456. Everyone else does that. Have a very complicated password," he said.

Copyright 2014 CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

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