Masking of ultrasound cookies Explore further The permanent networking of mobile devices can endanger the privacy of users and lead to new forms of monitoring. New technologies such as Google Nearby and Silverpush use ultrasonic sounds to exchange information between devices via loudspeakers and microphones (also called “data over audio”). Citation: Ultrasound-firewall for mobile phones (2018, May 25) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-05-ultrasound-firewall-mobile.html In the SoniControl project, Zeppelzauer and his colleagues Peter Kopciak, Kevin Pirner, Alexis Ringot and Florian Taurer have developed a procedure to expose the cookies and inform device users. For masking and blocking the ultrasonic data transfer, interference signals are transmitted via the loudspeaker of the mobile device. Thus, acoustic cookies can be neutralized before operating systems or mobile applications can access them. Users can selectively block cookies without affecting the functionality of the smartphone.The masking of the cookies occurs by means of ultrasound, which is inaudible to humans. “There is currently no technology on the market that can detect and block acoustic cookies. The application developed in this project represents the first approach that gives people control over this type of tracking,” said Zeppelzauer.All project results and the application have been made publicly available. The system is therefore directly usable and expandable for everyone. All project results have been released under Creative-Commons license.Data exchange via ultrasound in the Internet-of-ThingsThe technology is now being further developed in a follow-up project, SoniTalk. Through Internet-of-Things (IoT) technologies an increasing number of devices are communicating with one another. Ultrasonic communication is increasingly used for data exchange between mobile phones and devices. Thus, ultrasonic communication is an alternative technology for ad-hoc data exchange, near-field communication (NFC) and as a channel for two-factor authentication that proves the identity of users by combining two different and independent components.The new project SoniTalk wants to give users full control over what is allowed to be sent by which app and should effectively help to protect user privacy. The goal of SoniTalk is an open source, transparent and fully private-sphere oriented protocol for ultrasonic communication. SoniTalk seeks to lay the groundwork for a new free standard in the field of ultrasonic communication that enables secure communication and protects user privacy. Devices increasingly communicate via this inaudible communication channel. Ultrasonic communication allows devices to be paired and information to be exchanged. It also makes it possible to track users and their behaviour over a number of devices, much like cookies on the Web. Almost every device with a microphone and a loudspeaker can send and receive ultrasonic sounds. Users are usually unaware of this inaudible and hidden data transmission.The SoniControl project of St. Pölten University of Applied Sciences has developed a mobile application that detects acoustic cookies, brings them to the attention of users, and if desired, blocks the tracking. The app is thus, in a sense, the first available ultrasound firewall for smartphones and tablets. “The most challenging part of developing the app was to devise a method that can detect existing ultrasound-transmission techniques reliably and in real time,” said Matthias Zeppelzauer, head of the project and senior researcher in the Media Computing research group of the Institute of CreativeMedia/Technologies at St. Pölten UAS.Determining interests and locationSuch ultrasonic signals can be used for so-called “cross-device tracking.” This makes it possible to track the user’s behaviour across multiple devices, and relevant user profiles can be merged with one other. In this way, more accurate user profiles can be created for targeted advertising and filtering of internet content.Up until now, it has not been possible to block acoustic cookies. “In order to accept voice commands, the mobile phone microphone is often permanently active. Every mobile application that has access to the microphone as well as the operating system itself can at any time without notice activate the microphone of a mobile device, listen to it, detect acoustic cookies and synchronise it over the Internet,” said Zeppelzauer. Users are often not informed of this information transmission during operation. Only a permanent deactivation of the microphone would suffice, rendering the device unusable as a telephone. Provided by St. Poelten University of Applied Sciences More information: Project website: sonicontrol.fhstp.ac.atProject results: www.netidee.at/sonicontrolSoniControl App in the Google Play Store: play.google.com/store/apps/det … ac.fhstp.sonicontrolSource Code: git.nwt.fhstp.ac.at/m.zeppelzauer/SoniControl Ultrasound-firewall for mobile phones. Credit: St. Poelten UAS / Matthias Zeppelzauer How silent signals from your phone could be recording and tracking you This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.
Telangana COMMENTS SHARE A day after Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao dared the Opposition to face Assembly elections this year, several months before it is due in 2019, the Congress said it was ready for the challenge.In a quick reaction on Monday, the Telangana Pradesh Congress Committee (TPCC) President, Uttam Kumar Reddy, said KCR, as the Chief Minister and TRS supremo is known, should immediately resign. “Earlier, too, we had stated our readiness [for elections] and will humble the ruling party”.The Congress claimed it was well-prepared, that the TRS was in for a drubbing as KCR had failed on all fronts and that the people were disappointed with his tall promises. The AICC Secretary in-charge of the Telangana affairs, Ramachandra Kuntia said there would be no change in the party leadership, and that Uttam Kumar Reddy would lead the Congress in the upcoming elections.The TPCC had a detailed meeting to take stock of political developments. Among the attendees were Jana Reddy, Mallu Ravi, Bhatti Vikramarka, DK Aruna, V Hanumantha Rao, Sabitha Indra Reddy, et al. The party had recently organised a ‘Bus Yatra’ to to the districts to highlight what they termed the misrule and failures of the KCR government.On Sunday evening, KCR challenged the opposition comprising the Congress, BJP and TDP, to face snap polls, although elections are scheduled for April-May 2019, when the Lok Sabha polls are also due. The Chief Minister claimed he had discussed advancing the elections during his meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi, in early June.KCR had, while admitting senior Congress leader Danam Nagender and his followers into the TRS, made scathing remarks against the Opposition. The Chief Minister asserted that the TRS would win over 100 seats in the 110-member Assembly, quoting a couple of recent surveys.Nagender, who lost in 2014 on a Congress ticket, was earlier with the Telugu Desam Party. A leader of the Backward Classes, he has a strong following in Hyderabad, but was one of the leaders who opposed the Telangana statehood agitation. His entry will buttress the TRS in urban areas. In Hyderabad’s old city area, the TRS already has friendly relations with the strong MIM.At the event, KCR had exuded confidence that his government’s flagship Mission Kakatiya (irrigation) and Mission Bhagiratha (drinking water) schemes, and the progress of the mammoth Kaleshwaram (irrigation) project will bring about significant change to rural Telangana.Similarly, the Rythu Bandhu scheme, and the wide range of welfare measures will help achieve a Bangaru (golden) Telangana, he felt. SHARE SHARE EMAIL June 25, 2018 Published on Telangana Congress chief N Uttam Kumar Reddy is flanked by AICC Secretaries Ramachandra Kuntia and SA Sampath Kumar at the party’s State headquarters in Hyderabad on Monday. – The Hindu state politics COMMENT