Is Haven Really a Safe Haven

Before we begin I would like to say that I do like the concept of Haven and that I do believe Haven is an amazing app that will help keep millions safe. However that being said I always like to look at how something can be used against me as opposed to how it will help me. While Haven is a great app that will allow anyone to make home security cheap and simple. The same app could let anyone with enough means see everything around you, listen in on you and even let them know when you are moving or not. This could allow for any big Government or even Hackers to see and hear everything around your Safe Haven. To fully understand why this is lets look at what Haven is meant to be used for and how it operates.

Haven is an app designed by Edward Snowden an ex CIA and NSA Contractor. He became a fugitive of the United States Government when he stole records from the NSA proving that the US Government was spying on it’s citizens. Since then he has been living and working in secret from Russia. He has become a big name in the Internet Privacy and Security world and has been a guest star for many talks on Internet Privacy and Security. That being said it is a big plus for the app that it was designed by him since this is something that he himself is passionate about. However we can’t give it a pass based off of that alone.

Haven is an app that is meant to give people extra security over their possessions. This is obviously meant for Investigative journalist and whistle blowers to protect themselves from unlawful search and seizure, but it can be used as a cheap home defense tool. How it works first you will need two phones one that will receive Haven alerts and one that will be your Haven phone. Next you will need to install Haven on your Haven phone. Once you have it installed and setup you can now activate Haven to begin getting alerts from your Safe Haven. Alerts are triggered using three different features of your phone the motion sensor, camera and microphones. Once an alert is triggered you will receive a text notification on your alert phone. At the same time your Haven phone will start taking pictures to capture the cause of the alert and save it on the device.

Just off of this information you can start to see how Haven can be used against you. A Hacker if he/she so desired could use Haven to access your phones camera, microphone and motion sensor allowing them to know everything that is happening around your Haven Phone. They could also block you from receiving alerts from your Haven Phone or receive the same alerts as you by spoofing the phone number saved in the Haven app. Another security flaw is that your Haven logs are saved in an unsecured folder labeled phoneypot on your haven phone. This could allow any Hacker to quickly and easily get pictures of your Safe Haven from the ones taken by the alerts.

While Haven can be used to spy on you it is still a great app for home security. You just need to take extra steps to keep yourself safe. First make sure that both of the phones that are used have no connection to you. This will help minimize the risk of your actual location being reviled, when you receive an alert. Second your alert phone should be bare bones. This means no grav sensor, GPS, Internet or camera and you should only use it as an alert phone. This phone is key to your privacy since you will have it on you at all times. You will want to minimize the risk of it being Hacked and giving away your location. Thirdly your Haven Phone should always be stored in a Faraday Box when it’s not being used and you should never use this phone for anything other than a Haven phone.

If you follow these steps you will keep yourself relatively safe from Hackers that would use the security features in Haven against you. While Haven is a great app it is up to you to make sure your privacy remains intact. While Haven could be used to spy on you it’s still a great tool to have so long as you take proper precautions when using it.

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Is Haven Really a Safe Haven was originally published in Hacker Noon on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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