Apps spying on you

I connected the Ethernet to my router and now everything that the smartphone sends and receives has to flow through the Raspberry Pi.


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It enables real-time capture and processing of every data packet flying across a network. Once captured, I could analyze it at my leisure. The first thing I noticed was our smartphones talk to Google a lot. I was expecting all the servers to be something. I checked and verified every domain and every IP address the test devices contacted to be sure I knew who my smartphone was talking to.

Spy Phone App

Besides talking to Google, our smartphones seem quite carefree social butterflies and have a wide circle of friends. Something your smartphone often does is connect to Content Delivery Networks to get ads. Again, which networks it connects to, and how many, will depend on the apps you install. Most advertising-supported apps will use libraries provided by the ad network, which means the app developer has little or no knowledge of how the ads are actually served or what data gets sent to the ad network. The most common ad providers I saw were Doubleclick and Akamai.

In terms of privacy, these ad libraries can be a controversial topic, because an app developer is basically trusting the platform to do the right thing with the data and only send what is strictly needed to serve the ads. We have all seen how trustworthy ad platforms are during our daily use of the web. Pop-ups, pop-unders, auto-playing videos, inappropriate adverts, ads that take over the whole screen — the list goes on.

Overall, connections to AWS should be considered innocuous. However, it highlights the open nature of connected devices. Android guards against this in several ways, including by enforcing permissions on apps, and with services like Play Protect. This is why side-loading apps can be very dangerous. Since PiNet allowed me to capture every network packet, I was keen to check to see if Google was secretly spying on me by activating the microphone on my Pixel 3 XL and sending the data to Google.

As any politician will tell you, an open mic is a hazard to be avoided at all costs!


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  • The device is meant to listen locally for the keyphrase, without connecting to the internet. If everything checks out, the device sends audio to Google in real-time until either a command is understood, or the device times out. There is no network traffic at all, even when I talked directly at the phone.

    Google offers a service called Takeout which allows you to download all your data from Google, ostensibly so you can migrate your data to other services. However, it is also a good way to see what data Google has on you. If you try to download everything the resulting archive can be huge maybe more than 50GB , but that will include all your photos, all your video clips, every file you have saved on Google Drive, everything you uploaded to YouTube, all your emails, and so on.

    However, if I exclude those bulky media items from the download and concentrate on activity and metadata, the download can be quite small. I downloaded my Takeout recently and had a poke around to see what Google knows about me. The data arrives as one or more.

    Your iPhone Is Spying On You -- Here's How To Stop It

    Diving into each folder shows what Google knows about you in that area. At first, there was nothing surprising. I expected a list of my Reminders, since I created them using Google Assistant, so Google should have a copy of them. There was also an HTML file with a transcript of all those commands. It turns out Google processes all your email messages looking for purchases and creates a record of them. The one that really shocked me was in the Purchases folder. Here Google had a record of everything I have ever purchased online. The oldest item was from , when I purchased some airplane tickets.

    Privacy and smartphone apps: What data your phone may be giving away (CBC Marketplace)

    I have purchase records for items from Amazon, eBay, and iTunes. There are even records of birthday cards I bought.

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    You have probably seen this especially with regards to flights. If you open an email from an airline, Gmail helpfully puts some summary information about your flight in a special tab at the top of the message. When someone forwards you an email about something they have purchased, Google can even inadvertently parse it as a purchase you have made! It has been revealed that spying is not only possible, but it was demonstrated using the popular Android phones.

    Researcher Szymon Sidor focused on what is known as the spy app. What this little app is designed to do is turn on your Android camera in a way that is not noticeable to the owner of the device.


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    • There was no way to block the notification indicator light on the Android, but this did not trouble hackers. All it took was to make the indicator as small as one pixel. Pictures and video can be taken and distributed anywhere on the internet without you even knowing it is happening.

      If it can and is done with Android, you had better believe that any smartphone with a camera is vulnerable. Sidor was able to prove this is possible when he secretly recorded video on a Nexus 5 phone and posted it to YouTube.

      iPhone Apps Are Spying On You: Act Now! - Dazeinfo

      A savvy Android developer recently located a sneaky little app called Carrier IQ that is found on most Android, BlackBerry, and Nokia smartphone devices. The real problem with this sort of app is that it is running unaware to the user, and there is no way to opt out of giving the information. What types of information does it gather? Carrier IQ developers want you to believe it is innocuous sales trend information, but the fact is it has the capability of tracking anything and everything you type. With clandestine app developers working for the benefit of big business, it seems that privacy in technology may be a thing of the past.