Over 200 Android applications are able to spy through ultrasound

According to a research conducted by Technische Universitat Braunschweig in Germany, there would be over 200 applications using SilverPush software to track Android behaviors. All this is done without knowing the users using the microphone of smartphones and a series of ultrasonic signals, not perceptible from the human ear but perfectly interpretable by the software.

Applications are waiting for signals from TV commercials, allowing companies using this technology to track user habits and shifts. In some cases, it would be possible to circumvent the anonymity promised by services such as Tor and Bitcoin, used precisely because of the difficulty of traceability.

Hitesh Chawla, founder of SilverPush, is surprised by these numbers as software development has been suspended at the end of 2015 and for more than six months the company’s servers do not receive ping, which should instead be sent to each activation of applications created With the SilverPush Software Development Kit.

Currently, researchers have failed to trace ultrasonic transmissions on TV but are confident that the increase in applications that support SilverPush mean that the practice is in use and can expand in the near future.

Google claims that every application must declare how data is collected and how they are shared, but has not explained why they are still present in the Play Store that collect data that is unknown to the user. Ultrasonic signals, called beacons, can also be emitted by common audio speakers in commercial activities that can then send ad-hoc advertising when potential customers approach certain departments.

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