Information leaking on apps, pictures and video

It seem that you are almost always leaking some information without you knowing about them. Tracking the users is the invisible business that funds the web. Also spies target ‘leaky’ phone apps because they transmit users’ private information across the Internet.

Also photos can reveal more information that you can see with your eyes. Your photo files actually contain hidden information. EXIF stands for Exchangeable Image File Format, and is a standard for storing interchange information in image files. Digital cameras embed lots of information to the image files, usually the settings of the camera, but some smartphones store the location where the picture is taken. Typically you have needed special programs to read the EXIF data, but the functionality can be embedded to web page as described in Read EXIF data with Javascript and jQuery EXIF data plugin articles. exif Photo Search service allows you to search photos in Internet by location, date, and device type.

Video files can also reveal lots of interesting information that you don’t normally notice. Mystery signal from a helicopter web page by Finnish signal hacker tells how helicopter flying route can be extracted from YouTube video. She found that weird interference in the audio on the left channel was not interference at all, but telemetry data that could be pretty easily interpreted. It could be used to plot the the location trace of the helicopter on Google Earth map. Awesome work!

1 Comment

  1. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Slashdot also mentions this great helicopter telemetry hack, and mentions another way to decode the data stream from the helicopter using off-the-shelf software:

    Finnish Hacker Isolates Helicopter GPS Coordinates From YouTube Video Sounds


    You can decode it with off the shelf software, throw away the top bit, and get back mostly ASCII:

    $ ./minimodem –rx 1200 -f ~/helicopter.wav | tr ‘\200-\377\r’ ’00-\177\n’
    ### CARRIER 1200 @ 1200.0 Hz ###
    282 0002.3
    #L N390374 W09432938YJ
    #AL #NA 282 0002.3
    #L N390374 W09432938YJ

    This is pretty much as basic as telemetry data modulation gets!

    This is exactly the same sound as 1200 baud AFSK amateur packet radio made in the eighties/nineties, indeed using Bell 202 AFSK modems.


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