Hacks and Incidents

Stealthy technique fingerprints smartphones by measuring users’ movements

Stealthy technique fingerprints smartphones by measuring users’ movements: Computer scientists have devised a technique that could one day allow advertisers or law enforcement organizations to surreptitiously fingerprint smartphones.

The attack, recently unveiled by a team of researchers from Stanford University, could be attractive because it works against virtually any smartphone equipped with an “accelerometer.” That’s the sensor that determines the tilt a person is using to orient a smartphone and shifts the display to either landscape or vertical, accordingly. No special apps or permissions are required beyond a standard browser running with default settings. The technique leaves no browser cookies or other files on the device disk, making it hard for end users to detect using any security or privacy software available today.

Standard