Your Android Phone Battery Can Spy, Reveals A Report
If you are an android user, you must keep yourself aware of the spying danger from your phone’s power consumption. Weird? But true according to researchers.
According to Wired, researchers at Stanford University and Israel’s defense research group Rafael have discovered, in a study, that geographical location of any phone can be tracked by device’s power use over time.
Alarmingly, the data acquired using this technique, which the discoverers have named PowerSpy, can be used for all installed apps without requiring any permission. This allows determination of precision measurement of user’s location with high accuracy as much as 90 percent.
“We show that by simply reading the phone’s aggregate power consumption over a period of a few minutes an application can learn information about the user’s location. Power consumption over time completely reveals the phone’s location and movement,” voiced the researchers.
Spies can use location tracking for illicit purposes including advertising, observes one of the researchers Yan Michalevski. The trackers can do it simply by downloading the apps which use PowerSpy technique.
“You could install an application like Angry Birds that communicates over the network but doesn’t ask for any location permissions,” says Michalevski. “It gathers information and sends it back to me to track you in real time, to understand what routes you’ve taken when you drove your car or to know exactly where you are on the route. And it does it all just by reading power consumption.”
The technique takes some leverage from the cell towers. It’s because of the fact that phone’s cellular transmission varies its battery usage with variation of distance from a cell tower – the farther it is from the tower, the greater is the usage of power to reach a given cell tower.
Similarly, any obstacles between the cell tower and the device will require more power consumption by the device, a correlation which is strong enough to determine the power drains for example, a phone conversation or usage of an app.
The researcher claim that the technique is capable to determine not only phone’s location but also the movements. “We show that measuring the phone’s aggregate power consumption over time completely reveals the phone’s location and movement,” the researchers write.
PowerSpy is indeed an alarming discovery for Android users. The researchers have also cautioned that all other platforms are susceptible to being hacked and tracked. So Apple and Windows users also need to take precautionary measures.
Abubaker Zahoor writes on diverse topics with special interest in innovations, tech-ethics, and inter-and intra- organizational business relationships.