iPhone is Sharing your Valuable Information
“For long Apple devices have been thought of trusted devices” We carry our iphone devices around all the time, but have we ever imagined that our mobile device can leak valuable information to anyone, who cares to get that information. The context here is, we have a habit of connecting to wireless networks, whenever we are in different places, unaware about the privacy impact of connecting to these open networks. No one will ever want their information being shared to anyone and that to from their most trusted friend- their smart device.
The Real Problem
The real problem here is not our habit of connecting to open WiFi networks, But the problem lies in the smart device itself. Studies have shown that the technology currently used by mobile operating systems to search for networks and connect to them involves sharing the list of previously accessed networks. While this might seem harmless, but it may reveal our user name, work network, previously visited locations and even social relationships. Worse, an attacker can use the name of network which user has connected in the past, impersonate it and retrieve your login-information, emails, social media messages etc, which can be fatal. The same goes for Android and Windows devices.
An Example explaining the same- You went to some place on trip and you stay at a hotel (XYZ)and you connected your I-Phone to the Hotel’s WiFi network, after sometime time you went to a coffee shop in a near by place and same, you connected to their WiFi Hot spot. A person (Wardrivers) can tell you that you visited that hotel (XYZ), this is because your mobile operating system continually sends out list of previously connected WiFi networks and if you don’t delete your WiFi history he will also be able to tell your previous locations. Here’s a video in Which ‘Bram Bonne ( A computer scientist)’ explains the same in detail and you will be also be to know how audience reacted.
Key points he Discussed
- Smart phones keeps looking for networks it has connected in past- Your home network, work network etc.
- Smart phones sends out information which contains list of previously accessed networks, user name, previously visited locations.
- This information can be encrypted by third parties, persons known as ‘Wardrivers’.
- Anyone with a laptop can read these information by creating forged network and your smart device will automatically connect to that network.
- Once your smartphone is connected, it start’s syncing all of its information like gmal messages, facebook messages and more.
Some Counter Measures
- First of all Remove previously saved networks from your Smart phones that you don’t use anymore.
- Avoid connecting to open networks, It can be difficult because we all have a habit of connecting to free WiFi networks, still avoid it.
- But if you happen to connect to these networks, make sure you remove them soon after you are over with the use.
- An Android App (WiFi privacy police) has also been developed, that shuts down this process and provides you with security.
We all use smart devices for our private communication, for working, building social relationships and more. We all consider our mobile as our most trusted friend, but if our friend shares all our valuable information, it can prove to be fatal. All we can do is keep our networks secure, avoid using open networks and hope that all the giant smart phones manufacturers Apple,Google, Microsoft and more develop a technology to tackle the issue and pay more concern to user’s privacy.
Please share your thoughts below.