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Smartphone Light Sensors Used by Hackers to Spy and Track User Activities: MIT Study

Wednesday, January 24 2024 – 14:04 WIB

Jakarta – The benefits of smartphones are very diverse, and this feature is exploited by hackers or hackers through the light sensors on these devices.

A study conducted by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Team in the United States revealed that cell phones can also function as tracking tools to determine a person’s location and activities.

Illustration of scam/hacker/hacking.

Reporting from IFL Science, Wednesday 24 January 2024, hackers can use a cellphone’s light sensor to spy on someone. The ambient light sensor is used by the phone to detect ambient light levels and adjust the brightness as needed, if the auto setting is on.

While other phone features require user permission for apps to access them, such as the camera or microphone, light sensors typically do not require permission. That’s what researchers believe could be exploited

“The team at MIT developed an algorithm that is able to use light sensor capture variations to reconstruct images of a person’s tactile interactions with their phone, such as scrolling,” said research team leader Yang Liu

They tested the algorithm on commercially available Android tablets in several scenarios, including sitting in front of the screen and using a mannequin, a cardboard cutout, or a human hand to touch it.

The team looked to see if the algorithm could detect movement while watching videos. In all circumstances, the results show that light sensor data can be used to track interactions with the screen and create images from those interactions.

“This privacy threat has never been demonstrated before,” Liu said in his official statement.

If that activity sounds a bit worrying, there are certain requirements for location to be tracked.

Hackers target Apple products such as the iPhone.

In the study it was just one frame every 3.3 minutes – slow enough that anyone trying to get an image from the light sensor would have difficulty following the phone’s interactions in real time. Even if they do get an image, if it’s taken from a natural video, the image may be quite blurry.

Researchers found several ways that may help reduce some potential risks. The main target is software.

The proposed solution avoids hacking by recommending access to the ambient light sensor with special restrictions. Android users must also grant permission in the same way as a camera or microphone request.

The team also suggests limiting the sensor’s capabilities, keeping precision and speed low enough to prevent high-resolution images, and also placing the sensor on the side of the device.

2024-01-24 07:04:01
#Hackers #Cell #Phones #Spy

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