Android apps can infer your location through sensors – no permissions needed
BostInno - 08/04/2016
Android users beware: You might have apps tapping into your whereabouts without your knowledge. Recent research from Northeastern has shown Android apps requiring zero permissions can actually access certain sensors in your phone that enables them to infer your location, past and present.
Guevara Noubir, professor at Northeastern’s College of Computer and Information Science, was a co-author on the research paper called Inferring User Routes and Locations Using Zero-Permission Mobile Sensors. He explained Android phones can prevent apps from accessing specific location information without user authorization. However, apps can use “side-channel attacks” and access information from users’ gyroscope, accelerometer and magnetometer to deduce their location and traveled routes – all without users knowing it.