Feeds

Tracking Android phones is easy, says researcher

Assisted-GPS a boon for surveillance

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

To save time, battery life and processor cycles, smartphones don’t rely on “pure” GPS to fix their locations – they get help from location data in the mobile network. Research presented at Black Hat in Las Vegas last week cautions users that this represents a serious security vulnerability.

Under A-GPS (Assisted-GPS) schemes, the network can send current satellite location and time to the receiver, letting it acquire the signals more quickly; or the device can provide its GPS signal data to a server in the network for faster processing. Either way, the technology depends on the handset asking the network for help - and when that happens, location data is exchanged over the network.

The problems, according to University of Luxemboug researcher Ralf-Philipp Weinmann, are that requests for help are sent in the clear and are apparently easy to hijack.

For example, if an attacker had access to a WiFi network the phone connected to, its assistance request could be captured, and redirected to the attacker’s server. The attacker would now know where the phone is, and worse, that redirection would stay in place wherever the phone went in the future.

According to Technology Review, Weinmann described the attack as “rather nasty” since “if you turn it on just once and connect to that one network, you can be tracked any time you try to do a GPS lock”.

Because the processing is often handed off to the device’s main processor, Weinmann says, it could also act as a gateway for other attacks, from crashing the target device to planting malware. ®

New hybrid storage solutions

More from The Register

next story
Google recommends pronounceable passwords
Super Chrome goes into battle with Mr Mxyzptlk
Infosec geniuses hack a Canon PRINTER and install DOOM
Internet of Stuff securo-cockups strike yet again
Snowden, Dotcom, throw bombs into NZ election campaign
Claim of tapped undersea cable refuted by Kiwi PM as Kim claims extradition plot
Reddit wipes clean leaked celeb nudie pics, tells users to zip it
Now we've had all THAT TRAFFIC, we 'deplore' this theft
Apple Pay is a tidy payday for Apple with 0.15% cut, sources say
Cupertino slurps 15 cents from every $100 purchase
YouTube, Amazon and Yahoo! caught in malvertising mess
Cisco says 'Kyle and Stan' attack is spreading through compromised ad networks
TorrentLocker unpicked: Crypto coding shocker defeats extortionists
Lousy XOR opens door into which victims can shove a foot
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.