OwNd by EXIF – Understand What You Leave Behind

Posted: October 3, 2012 in Privacy, Security Awareness, What doesn't work
Tags: ,

Who are you, Where are you, What are your habits?  It’s no secret these days that your entire life is tracked one way or another, especially if you live in the US.  Your bank knows how much you pay for electricity, what foods you eat, and where you buy gas.  The search engines and social media sites know what you are looking for, what you like, and what your friends like.  And if you were not aware, those photos posted all over the internet provide detail about where you are at a particular time.

Forensic evidence analysis of logs and metadata provide the authorities and criminals everything they need to know.  Look at the CBS local news article from earlier this year that is linked below.  It explains how a suspected member of Anonymous sent a photo to the FBI, which ultimately led to an arrest.

http://houston.cbslocal.com/2012/04/13/anonymous-hacker-busted-by-fbi/

What about your kid’s photos?  Look at this example posted by the FBI in 2011.

http://www.fbi.gov/news/stories/2011/december/cyber_122211

Masquerading IP addresses, eliminating log traces, scrubbing tags, and hiding metadata, these are all key skills every hacker or concerned parent must understand.  These skills are not new to those in the hacker community. EXIF news postings have been around for years, however with all the new avenues of media and mobile devices anyone can be caught off guard.  Therefore, caution leaving unknown tracks and understand what your kids may be posting online.

In terms of EXIF there are tools such as Pixelgarde that can change or remove geo tags on your Android and IOS devices. 

http://pixelgarde.com/

Also most mobile phones have features to disable the GPS tracking, but sometimes these features are also used for tracking stolen devices.

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