Webnotes by: Theresa Payton, Fortalice, LLC. Content also covered on WBTV’s “Protecting Your Cyberturf” segment, featuring Theresa Payton and Kristen Miranda.
Creepy but real, your smartphone
remembers more about where you were last week then you do and there’s a
new study that proves it. Although - did we need a study to confirm
that? MIT and other groups came together to see if they could take that
data from phones and somehow track it back to an individual. Guess
what? They did.
Here’s what you need to know - yes, you
can identify a person by tracking cell phones. This could be a good
thing, especially if a person goes missing. But, in the wrong hands, it
could get creepy or become an invasion of your privacy. The study
tracked 1.5 million people for a little over a year. Cyber
expert, Theresa Payton, is with us tonight to talk more about this
Think about this -
The researchers compared their study to fingerprints -- it takes 12 data
points to track a fingerprint down to an individual. In this study,
the researchers said they only needed 4 data points to guess who the
individual was within 95% accuracy.
Smart phone users leave behind patterns that over time are unique to them.
HOW IT WORKS:
They pulled hourly updates on the phone’s whereabouts from the mobile cell phone towers
Over time, they could compare past tracking to current data and work backwards into the person’s identity over 90% of the time.
tracked: where the phone went every day. Most people are predictable:
they wake up, head to work, go to the gym, go to a soccer field, etc.
Most people have a pattern to their whereabouts.
used to be that ONLY a mobile phone company had this information but
this location information is now widely shared with “partners” and apps.
A staggering stat - those cell phone purchases you made
last year? Well, 65.5B of those payments were geo-tagged, meaning, we
know where you were when you made that payment.
THE GOOD NEWS?
The data correlation techniques used by the researchers required a long time period and large quantities of data.
WHAT CAN YOU DO TO PROTECT YOURSELF?
off geo-location may help in some cases but really are very few
workarounds - other than leaving your phone at home or committing to
altering your routine frequently!
WORD OF THE WEEK:
- the newest addition to Yahoo. It’s an app that summarizes an article
quickly to give you the key points. It was created by a 17 year old
and Yahoo reportedly bought it for $30 million. You can try out
SUMMLY by going to https://summly.desk.com
You can read the actual study and full set of findings at this link: