New research points at the possibility of attackers accessing your location based on some the data that gets left behind when visiting popular trusted websites. Researchers from the University of Singapore claim to have found a new sort of threat that allows attackers to know your location right down to the city and street address in some cases.
These attacks, which are being referred to as “geo-inference attacks” by the researchers, exploit the location data sites like Google use to offer its users better service. This data is left behind in your browser’s cache and is easily mined by third party websites running crafty scripts. While it all depends on the sites you visit and how often your browser’s cache is dumped, a simple visit to Google can reveal your country and using something like Google Maps can leave behind data pointing to your home address or exact whereabouts if mined at the wrong time.
The research group says all major browsers are susceptible to the geo attacks including Chrome, FireFox, Internet Explorer and Opera. The group also found that more than 60% of the Alexa top 100 websites in the UK, USA, Australia, Japan and Singapore, all left behind data that could in some way be vulnerable to these geo-inference attacks.
Using services like Tor can keep you safe from these attacks, and constantly dumping your browser cache or using private browsing can also minimize the possibilities of being geo hacked, according to the research team.
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