Feeds

Hey, Glasshole: That cool app? It has turned you into a SPY DRONE

Google Glass spyware can use users as surveillance drones

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

Security researchers have created prototype Google Glass spyware that is capable of snooping on everything the user is looking at without tipping off victims that anything is amiss.

Mike Lady and Kim Paterson – graduate researchers at California Polytechnic San Luis Obispo – created an app that takes a picture every 10 seconds a Glass display is active – before uploading the information to a remote server. This all happens in the background without giving the wearer any indication that images from the hi-tech specs are being "live-streamed".

"The scary thing for us is that while it’s a policy that you can’t turn off the display when you use the camera, there’s nothing that actually prevents you from doing it,” Paterson told Forbes.

The prototype was written as a proof of concept designed to highlight security issues with the high-tech eyewear. In the experiment the snoopy code posed as a note-taking software package called Malnotes.

Similar tricks could be used to distribute a real Trojan. Victims would first have to be tricked into installing a dodgy app, of course. Lady and Paterson succeeded in uploading their dodgy app (which did more than it said on the tin) to the Google Play app store for Android, before Google was notified of its presence and a quick takedown applied. Forbes adds that the same trick would probably have failed on the more carefully curated MyGlass app store.

"Even Glassholes (as those who have adopted Google’s wearable technology are known) don’t deserve to be spied upon, and should have an expectation that proper security is in place to prevent abusive apps from performing actions that should be forbidden," writes security industry veteran Graham Cluley in a blog post. "If you do insist on wearing Google Glass, then please make sure that you have protected your devices using a passcode, and be careful about what apps you install on your devices from unofficial app stores."

Malicious software for Glass is not a virgin field for security research. For example, last year researchers at the mobile security firm Lookout showed how it might be possible to install malware or snooping on data feeds by tricking a user into simply looking at malicious QR codes.

Glass automatically processed QR codes present anywhere in photographs captured by the built-in camera. That meant barcode-like images could be put together that instructed the Glass hardware to connect to a rogue Wi-Fi network that snoops on connections made to the web, or tell its browser to visit a malicious website that exploits security holes in the gadget's Android operating system. Lookout reported the problem to Google before going public with the issue last July. ®

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
SMASH the Bash bug! Apple and Red Hat scramble for patch batches
'Applying multiple security updates is extremely difficult'
Shellshock: 'Larger scale attack' on its way, warn securo-bods
Not just web servers under threat - though TENS of THOUSANDS have been hit
Apple's new iPhone 6 vulnerable to last year's TouchID fingerprint hack
But unsophisticated thieves need not attempt this trick
Oracle SHELLSHOCKER - data titan lists unpatchables
Database kingpin lists 32 products that can't be patched (yet) as GNU fixes second vuln
Who.is does the Harlem Shake
Blame it on LOLing XSS terroristas
Researchers tell black hats: 'YOU'RE SOOO PREDICTABLE'
Want to register that domain? We're way ahead of you.
Stunned by Shellshock Bash bug? Patch all you can – or be punished
UK data watchdog rolls up its sleeves, polishes truncheon
prev story

Whitepapers

A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
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?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.