The dangers of constantly keeping your smartphone’s always on has been revealed.
Once the user has joined a disguised wifi network, the rogue operator can then steal any information that the user enters while on that network – including email passwords, Facebook account information, and even banking details.
This is also why smartphones and other devices that use wireless technology – such as Oyster cards using RFID (radio frequency identification) or bank cards with chips – can betray their users.
Mr Wilkinson – who began developing the Snoopy software three years ago as a side-project – gave the BBC a preview of the technology ahead of its release.
Pulling out a laptop from his bag, Mr Wilkinson opened the Snoopy programme – and immediately pulled up the smartphone information of hundreds of Black Hat conference attendees.
With just a few keystrokes, he showed that an attendee sitting in the back right corner of the keynote speech probably lived in a specific neighbourhood in Singapore. The software even provided a streetview photo of the smartphone user’s presumed address.
DJI phantom SensePost has used the Snoopy software attached to cheap commercial drones like DJI’s Phantom
Drones- not just flying cameras:
- Drones are controlled either autonomously by on-board computers, or by remote control
- They are used in situations where manned flight is considered too dangerous or difficult
- Also increasingly used for policing and fire-fighting, security work, and for filming
For instance, the Snoopy software has been ground-based until now, operating primarily on computers, smartphones with Linux installed on them, and on open-source small computers like the Raspberry Pi and BeagleBone Black.
But when attached to a drone, it can quickly cover large areas.
“You can also fly out of audio-visual range – so you can’t see or hear it, meaning you can bypass physical security – men with guns, that sort of thing,” he says.
It’s not hard to imagine a scenario in which an authoritarian regime could fly the drone over an anti-government protest and collect the smartphone data of every protester and use the data to figure out the identities of everyone in attendance.
Mr Wilkinson says that this is why he has become fascinated with our “digital terrestrial footprint” – and the way our devices can betray us.
He says he wants to “talk about this to bring awareness” of the security risks posed by such simple technologies to users.
His advice? Turn off the wireless network on your phone until you absolutely need to use it.