The Dangers of Location Services and Social Networks The Dangers of Location Services and Social Networks The growth of social networks and smartness over the past few years has come with a dangerous side-effect: the violation of privacy and security. Social networks such as Backbone and Twitter may appear to be a fun way to keep in touch or to easily socialize with friends and family, but as these networks continue to grow some very serious privacy and security concerns emerge. Interestingly these concerns could be easily prevented by any educated user.
The problem occurs when social network and smartened companies force the average user to have to work towards gaining this education by hiding or not fully explaining some of their settings and features. One of the biggest cases of this is the recent emergence of coordinate- based APS on smartness. In many of these APS, location services – a setting that allows the app to record the user’s exact coordinates at a given time – is turned on by default; the average user may never even be aware of its existence.
This is not the only example of technology designed to follow people, there are many more new features being developed all the time to track and record an individual’s movements, despite their fun and harmless appearance; user education has become necessary for security. Since Passbooks launch in 2004, it has been improving its ability for connected users to find out as much information as possible regarding the activities of others. Recently, Backbone has released a feature known as Check-in. This feature allows the user to post their current location along with some explanatory text.
Because of the enabling of location services on mobile devices such as smartness and tablets, Backbone already knows exactly where the user is, saving time and effort required in manually searching for that location. Another feature came along with this one, allowing the user to advertise their general location at the bottom of a post and, once again, this feature is automatically enabled on most smartness. Still, there may be no actual violation of security in showing the user’s location to his/her friends, but it can become problematic when the user doesn’t have any knowledge bout this feature.
Even so, these features are quite harmless, as these location services only deal with specified locations when the user chooses it to. Twitter, following in Passbooks footsteps, has released its own location feature; this being a little more dangerous because Twitter, oppose to Backbone, is completely public by default. Once again, this feature isn’t too harmful because at least the user gets to decide whether or not to include their location within their tweet. But what if a location service stored exact coordinates of a person hidden in each of these posts?
This brings us to a more questionable location service known as cogitating. Cogitating has recently become popular because it allows people to know where a picture of a famous event, a beautiful cliff-side, or even past memories was taken with Just a few clicks. This is because a cottage is metadata stored in a photo file that reveals the exact latitude and longitude of the spot on which the picture was taken. Of internet GAPS surveillance. This surveillance allows almost anyone to find out an individual’s exact coordinates at a given time Just based off of any cottage photos hat they have made public to the internet.
The gathered information can then be used for all sorts of security violations. “The ubiquitous automatic cogitating of pictures taken with smartness and digital cameras and then posted on the Internet could prove to be a real security risk. ” (Net Security, paragraph 1). One of the biggest issues with cogitating is the fact that almost all smartness and some camera brands, such as Canon, store cottage automatically without ever letting the user know of their existence. The average user isn’t capable of extracting a cottage room a photo file, but given a person who is determined enough they would be able to acquire the tools to do so. There are a lot people out there who don’t know that this kind of data is often included in digital images, or that the option of turning the GAPS on these devices even exists. And even if they do, this option is almost always hidden behind several menu levels, and turning it off often means losing other GAPS benefits” (Net Security, paragraph 5). There are also a few sites which automatically extract and make use of cottage. The most popular of these sites is Backbone, which as recently taken the idea of cogitating and incorporated it in to their photo system.
By default, posting a photo file originating from a smartened will include a location indicator along with any other stored metadata in the photos description. The actual posted photo is then wiped of all metadata. To further fully grasp the dangers of cogitating, I will illustrate a potential scenario. Yesterday, Bob purchased a new car. As Bob got ready for work this morning he decided to take a picture of his new car with his phone and post it on Twitter for all of his followers to see.
Bob uses he default Twitter settings and therefore has no privacy settings on his tweets. Bob also decided to include text along with his picture, in which he says: “Going to be a long day at work. ” By taking a picture of his car and tweeting it, Bob has Just potentially revealed the coordinates of his private residence to the public. He has also revealed, in the same post, that he is leaving his home to go to work. Bob’s home is now at risk of being robbed, without the robber ever having to spend time in real life spying on Bob’s habits.
Cogitating is even more dangerous due to the increasing popularity and accessibility of taking photos and posting them to social networks. By far the most common website to experience this is Backbone, with billions of photos uploaded at present. Also, more often than ever before, these photos have been taken by a smart phone device rather than a typical camera meaning that the majority of these recent photos posted to Backbone will have an attached cottage. Backbone is now in possession of a vast database of the locations that people have been at various times.
Not to mention the exact coordinates of many private cadences, which anyone, with a given motive and education, can extract. “Anyone with a modicum of programming knowledge can write a program that could search for the combination of cottage pictures and ‘On vacation’ statuses. And with plug- ins that can extract cottage data from pictures, even people keeping blobs or personal pages are not safe. ” (Net Security, paragraph 5). This method of data-matching as described in the quote is Just one of many different ways someone could match a user’s coordinates with a status.
Another way could be matching the user’s location ousted many pictures of similar content or similar location, data-mining can be applied to discover unique patterns. Some of these patterns could be useful for less harmful acts such as targeted advertising, but in many scenarios these patterns could also be used to predict a person’s movement. This is probably one of the more frightening aspects of pattern recognition, because it could allow someone with harmful intentions to locate or intercept their target. All hope isn’t lost though, the cogitating of media and other location services can always be disabled.
On any marathoner device is it possible to go in to the settings and find the tab, usually called “location services” or “cogitating”, which displays all the applications on that make use the phone’s GAPS abilities. From there on the user may block any these devices from being able to access the GAPS. The user should be warned; any media that has already been taken while cogitating was enabled has been incorporated with metadata. Luckily, if the user ever wants to make a photo file public, there exists software that is able remove all cottage from the file before being posted.