Wi-Fi tools help scammers spy on users
Wi-Fi tools can be used to track your movements. The more routers are in the room, the more accurately you can determine the location of the user. If these technologies are used by a scammer, it will be enough just to walk around the building with a smartphone.
How do Wi-Fi tools work in bad hands?
Through Wi-Fi, you can even track people through the walls, and for such a task you don’t even need to use any additional devices, according to researchers from Santa Barbara.
The institute's specialists, headed by graduate student Yanzi Zhu, found a way to use 2.4–5 GHz radio waves to track how people move around the premises with hotspots. Researchers say that this found vulnerability in bad hands will give shocking security breaches.
Systems that allow you to view information “through the walls” through Wi-Fi tools were developed before, but they had a lot of flaws, including the fact that you needed to know the exact coordinates of the hotspot and connect to the same network.
There are no such difficulties in the new method. You just need a regular smartphone with the search for Wi-Fi networks - and anyone can spy on another person in his home or office, and he can be outside the room and watch only the signal reflections.
Here it is necessary to find out about what reflections the researchers are talking about. The Wi-Fi signal does not see any obstacles in the furniture, people or walls - they are all almost transparent to it, with the exception of small noise and distortion. But in spite of these nuances, any movement will be seen very easily - for example, opening or closing the door will cause some distortion in this space. It is also relatively easy to follow a person because people reflect and refract the signal.
At the same time, you still need to know where the nearest router is located. But this problem was solved by Yanzi and his assistants - they created a special program that uses only the antenna of the gadget and the pre-installed accelerometers to measure the signal power in the room, provided that the conditional “spy” moves outside. By changing the signal, you can define the location of the device itself.
Walking only 4 times around the perimeter of one room, the researchers achieved 90% accuracy. In normal cases, scammers will only need a floor plan, which is quite simple to get, at least in the USA. Then, a potential attacker should only wait until movement and interference is noticed in the desired radius. It is enough to even type text on a computer to cause sufficient distortion visible from the receiver of the smartphone.
Scientists have tested their technology on Nexus 5 and 6 smartphones. They tested the method in 11 different living and working spaces. What is remarkable, the more such hotspots, the more accurate the results of observation outside - if there are at least two routers in one room, the accuracy of movement detection will be 99%. Thus, industrial espionage becomes much more serious and easier than before.