Advertisers could be looking to exploit accelerometer data to track smartphones

By on October 14, 2013, 1:00 PM

We all know that advertisers use a number of different methods to track us in some way or another, and new reports are suggesting that our device's accelerometer is no exception. Security researcher Hristo Bojinov, has figured out a way to track devices through the data accelerometers produce.

According to the researcher's recent findings, accelerometers produce a unique footprint, that allow an individual device to be easily tracked across the internet. He also found that devices can be tracked using the unique frequency response speakers and microphones generate.

The tracking, which is very similar to the way cookies work, differs in that the accelerometer, speaker and microphone data output can't be turned off.

The report suggests that websites could easily introduce a simple code that would allow them to track particular devices using this type of accelerometer data. While Bojinov said that he isn't sure whether this type of tracking is already in use or not, he did suggest that advertisers could easily already be exploiting these vulnerabilities.

While it is true, there is no mass produced method of turning off the tracking data the accelerometer, mic and speakers produce -- like there is with cookies -- sites can track users with basic browser information anyways, including font and operating system data. While it may appear that the data coming from Bojinov's recent research could be redundant in terms of tracking users that are already being tracked, it looks to be another way the advertising industry can keep tabs of users across the mobile web.

(Image via Shutterstock)

User Comments: 5

Got something to say? Post a comment
JC713 JC713 said:

This doesnt surprise me. It is creepy how it comes to this point...

Guest said:

And to think that some people are concerned about the NSA = LoL!

It's the advertisers secretly turning on your microphone that you should be worried about.

"John Anderton, you feel like a coke!"

davislane1 davislane1 said:

Just goes to show, the NSA doesn't have anything on Captain Corporate.

gobbybobby said:

They just want to know where you are going, what you are doing there, and why you are doing it. Whats wrong with that?

Guest said:

Nothing, as long as it's your MUM.

Everything, if it's an ADVERTISER.

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