9059 Hundreds of Android apps track users. with the help of ultrasound

Hundreds of Android apps track users. with the help of ultrasound

This week appeared unusually many messages about problems with the security of the Android operating system. Researchers from the University of Michigan foundthat hundreds of apps in Google Play can be used by hackers to steal user data. Then Google had done a large-scale phishing attack. Google, meanwhile, released the largest security patch for Android. This news does not end there. Researchers from Braunschweig technical University in Germany found that many Android applications use ultrasound to spy on users without their knowledge.

Reportedly, over the last few years advertisers have begun to actively use the technology of ultrasonic tracking devices, uXDT for tracking mobile users and creating for each an extensive profile with different information. Experts from Braunschweig technical University as of April 2015 spotted only six of the applications that use this technology. By December of that year their number rose to 39 pieces. In a recent study they were able to detect 234 application for Android using uXDT. Moreover, 4 of 35 retail stores in two cities use the same technology to track their customers.

The principle of operation uXDT is that advertisers embed ultrasounds in the commercials they run on television or radio in the frequency range of 18-20 kHz. These sounds are inaudible to humans, but the microphones of phones and computers for their capture. Because of this advertisers certainly know who is where and what is looks. This information is used to provide ads based on user behavior.


According to the researchers, the technology of ultrasonic tracking devices can also be used to deanonimizatsii users of the Tor browser. When they work in the browser, and somewhere near or from the same computer is advertising, the smartphone with the installed application, which uses uXDT, recognizes this by providing advertisers with information on the identity of the user.

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Experts say that at the moment of ultrasonic tracking devices are not as dangerous as it might seem, since “surveillance” is carried out only in the case where the application contains a special code to listen on, is in the running state. In addition, such software you need to access the microphone.

Source: tomshardware.com

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