ultrasonic user tracking

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ultrasonic user tracking

Postby Logan Savage » Tue May 09, 2017 4:54 pm

A recent practice embeds ultrasonic beacons in audio and tracks them using the microphone of mobile devices. This side channel allows an adversary to identify a user’s current location, spy on her TV viewing habits or link together her different mobile devices. In this paper, we explore the capabilities, the current prevalence and technical limitations of this new tracking technique based on three commercial tracking solutions. To this end, we develop detection approaches for ultrasonic beacons and Android applications capable of processing these. Our findings confirm our privacy concerns: We spot ultrasonic beacons in various web media content and detect signals in 4 of 35 stores in two European cities that are used for location tracking. While we do not find ultrasonic beacons in TV streams from 7 countries, we spot 234 Android applications that are constantly listening for ultrasonic beacons in the background without the user’s knowledge.

Privacy Threats through Ultrasonic Side Channels on Mobile Devices
Daniel Arp, Erwin Quiring, Christian Wressnegger and Konrad Rieck
Technische Universitat Braunschweig
Brunswick, Germany
"Capitalism has defeated communism. It is now well on its way to defeating democracy"
(David C. Korten, When Corporations Rule the World)
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Logan Savage
 
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