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September 19, 2013

WiFi Network Privacy

It occurred to me a while back that my privacy can be eroded in a new way. My phone will automatically attempt to connect to WiFi access points I've previously connected to, it's a handy feature, it can also be exploited. I know there are attacks out there that lure in phones to connect to rogue access points to attempt to infect them or steal credentials. But there is another threat. If you have a large set of access points that are owned or coordinated cooperatively, you could start to monitor and track the location of phones and other WiFi devices. This is feasible now, just think about the fleet of access points at McDonalds or Tim Hortons, how many do you pass each day? But more so, the WiFi networks of internet service providers like MTS, Bell and Shaw. Shaw claims they have thousands across the country and I'm sure I pass dozens on a daily basis. If my phone were to attempt connections to each as I pass by and make a connection at each place I stop, that's a fairly detailed record of my movements.

Something to think about.


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