NSA Whistleblower Edward Snowden and hacker Andrew Huang have co-designed a smartphone case that tells its owner when their phone is being hacked.


The case would monitor components inside the phone to spot when it is unexpectedly sending data. The case would even alert the user if the phone is in airplane mode.


Snowden and Huang said many cyber-thieves seek to install malware that steals data without alerting a phone's owner that information is going astray. To combat this, Snowden and Huang started work on the case, named “introspection engine”, that keeps an eye on the radio components inside a smartphone.


The duo hopes to release a prototype by next year. The design has been released through a video stream that examines the technique in detail and the goal is to start a supply chain of modified iPhones in China that can be offered to journalists worldwide.


“This work aims to give journalists the tools to know when their smart phones are tracking or disclosing their location when the devices are supposed to be in airplane mode,” they said.


Goals of the introspection engine have been noted in a blog post by Snowden and Huang.