Your Smartphone Can be tracked easily – Be careful

Researchers have shown that there is a unique sensor data in our smartphones, which can be used to track our phone without us knowing it. The researchers in the University of Cambridge demonstrated a cool calibration of data which was associated with sensors in the iOS and Android. It gave websites a device fingerprint without user consent.

The data is used to create an ID which identifies the device and can be used to track it whenever it goes online. Still wondering how authorities come sniffing us up at our doors?

While researchers still don’t believe that this happens so frequently and we are glad to tell you that they already told Apple about this vulnerability. Apple released an iOS update named “12.2” where they have fixed the issue, so if you are using an outdated version, it is time to update your iPhone.

Similarly, the case with Android smartphone is more critical. When we logged in to Google Playstore with our Gmail ID, allow the location tracking and contact access, we actually giving away the control of our phone to Google in general. Where have you been, at what time and how, when have you left from there, everything can be tracked easily from Google Dashboard.

What apps have you installed, who is in your contact list and what have you searched over your YouTube account, anyone with the gmail access can easily see everything about you.

More about the Tracking Device

These vulnerabilities not only sacrifice your privacy but it also put your online data at stake. Apart from Google, any third party can also get access to your activity data whenever they are allowed to.

Let’s check this issue in more detail:

More about the Tracking Device

Websites are often found to use fingerprint devices to identify a device and navigate it. Then they serve targeted ads according to the geographical preferences. While you may be aware of the fact that this happens generally using cookies and me suspect that most of you all reading it right now are less aware of the fact that websites and apps do this regularly and yes without your consent or permission.

Browsers like Safari and Firefox limit the data that websites seek to access your device. They, however, tend to bypass those restrictions by simply accessing the calibration data. As a result, the malicious attackers use methods to track the devices without users knowing they are being affected. In other words, these smartphones, may it be an iPhone or Samsung, gathering a profound record of users’ fingerprints, faces and voices via these methods. We are willinging providing our identification in the name of advance technology. Using this data, anyone can be identified with just voice or fingerprint and can be tracked in seconds.

So, what should we do about this?

Stay Vigilant and Protected

Unfortunately, this method only works if you do interact with the device which is hard to prevent right now and we are still at the mercy of Apple and Google and praying that they update the software regularly. At the same time, it depends on you that how you avoid interactions with the websites that you are unfamiliar with and avoid clicking on the links that look suspicious.

We also need to be religiously cautious on what information are we giving away just to use the technology. Instead of face recognition, you can go for complex passwords. Instead of allowing your location access, you can just ignore the apps which ask for it or decline the request. It may not provide you the most advantages on your phone, but believe me it will keep you safe.

Tracking App

Where you need to give access to location? In apps like Tinder, Uber and Food, you will need to provide location for getting the service. If you do not allow the location, you will not be able to get the services. In this case all you can do, allow the location and then remove it from just after using the app.

Your data might seem of no value to you, but  believe me it worth millions of dollars in the market. There are registered data mining companies harvesting the data for marketers, political parties and much more. Have you forget about Cambridge Analytica, who harvested the data from Facebook for Trump election campaign? Well, this is just one story that has been disclosed or become known to the general public. There are many such companies behind the apps we use on a daily basis many times.

In a time where internet is said to be a Jungle with no laws and rules implied, it is crucially important to act wisely and stay proactive about your privacy. There are encryption tools available such as VPN software which guarantees your anonymity online and pledge to protect your data using encrypted capsules and complex protocols.

Conclusion

Your privacy and security is a valuable asset to you, websites that you visit normally and the attackers with bad intentions both are developing new ways to monitor what you are doing online or what your search preferences are. It is your own job to take responsibility and protect yourself and your data from such prying eyes online.

The choice is all yours, do you seek privacy online? Or want to get monitored by the website owners or your government. We’d leave that to you. Peace.

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