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home-made Rasberry PI network snooper

 4:27 am on Aug 4, 2013 (gmt 0)

A Cheap Spying Tool With a High Creepy Factor
Brendan O’Connor is a security researcher. How easy would it be, he recently wondered, to monitor the movement of everyone on the street – not by a government intelligence agency, but by a private citizen with a few hundred dollars to spare?

Mr. O’Connor, 27, bought some plastic boxes and stuffed them with a $25, credit-card size Raspberry Pi Model A computer and a few over-the-counter sensors, including Wi-Fi adapters. He connected each of those boxes to a command and control system, and he built a data visualization system to monitor what the sensors picked up: all the wireless traffic emitted by every nearby wireless device, including smartphones.


I liked this article because; A). He used Rasberry PI computers, and, B). It makes me think how much "offline" data McDonalds, Starbucks, Google and other businesses who offer "FREE WiFi" are collecting about people who do not think they can;t be tracked just because they are not using the device at the moment.



 11:53 am on Aug 5, 2013 (gmt 0)

Nice experiment.

I would guess that a lot of free WiFi's are quite harmless, however, as soon as the dots are joined, it then becomes a resource to the providers, not to mention hackers. Average Joe user will never know on way or the other.

I don't doubt for one moment that we'll see many more thieves getting involved in WiFi data theft opportunities.

Free WiFi is a liability, imho.


 2:09 pm on Aug 5, 2013 (gmt 0)

I'm more worried about the corporate data-miners than street-level data thieves.

I just went into the WiFi setting on my phone to disable it from logging into any public networks...

Add the following to the list of possible snoopers:

Apple Store
Home Depot Public WiFi
Whole Foods Market

(those are just the big names -- many more small retailers and private networks in list).
...these and many others found in my phone as "Security: Open, Not Connected, Remembered" -- all I did was drive by or walk in a store -- I did not "try to connect", but my (Android) phone did -- and in doing so, provided any of these retailers with some data to mine if they choose to do so.


 2:46 pm on Aug 5, 2013 (gmt 0)

Oh, that's interesting.

My settings were already set to the off position as default, although, who really knows how much your phone or tablet reports back. I guess it'll be Google, or Apple, or Microsoft, etc.

I know that the Google apps on the desktop spend far too much time connecting to home, and it's almost impossible to control that automation.


 10:26 pm on Aug 5, 2013 (gmt 0)

settings were already set to the off position as default

Which is what got me even looking into this, this week.

Before reading about the Rasberry PI sniffer, I had read the PC Magazine article:

Android 4.3's New 'Always-On' Wi-Fi Feature Buried in Settings
It might be a bit much to say that one of the new features packed into Android's 4.3 upgrade is controversial, but it's definitely one worth knowing a little bit more about. As those who have taken a spin around the Android 4.3 ROM have noticed, Google has made a change to devices' Wi-Fi settings in Android 4.3.

"To improve location accuracy and for other purposes, Google and other apps may scan for nearby networks, even when Wi-Fi is off," describes Google.


Note to paranoids: remove batteries from device and store device in electrically shielded container when not in use.


 8:53 am on Aug 6, 2013 (gmt 0)

Oh, now that really is just awful.

What are these developers thinking!

It has always frustrated me that I am unable to stop certain applications constantly loading, and obviously, phoning home at the same time.

Even the task killer Apps will only stop an App temporarily.

Thanks for the heads up on that, and I'll be watching for those updates.

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