At a glance.
- Bluetooth device signatures.
- Cyprus cooperates in takedown of criminal dark web souk.
- Stalker concerns about AirTags resurface in a murder case.
Could Bluetooth be used as phone tracker?
After conducting a real-life experiment on a college campus, researchers at the University of California San Diego have found that Bluetooth can be used to track an individual’s mobile phone, Graham Cluley reports. Due to accidental variations during manufacturing, the Bluetooth signals emitted by a person’s phone bear a digital fingerprint that make them uniquely identifiable. Based on location, the researchers found that up to 47% of phones observed in public areas like coffee shops and hallways were trackable, and they were even able to mimic an attack to successfully track the device of a study volunteer. The researchers say the ideal solution would be a redesign of Bluetooth hardware, but given that this would be a tall order, they also suggest finding ways to conceal the trackable fingerprint.
Cyprus police confirm shutdown of cybercrime marketplace.
As we noted last week, SSNDOB Marketplace, a series of underground websites where cybercriminals bought and sold the personal data of approximately 24 million individuals in the US, was shutdown in a collaborative operation conducted by the US Department of Justice, the Internal Revenue Service, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation in coordination with law enforcement agencies in Cyprus and Latvia. AP News reports, Cyprus Police Cybercrime Department Chief Andreas Anastasiades confirmed that a six-month investigation was conducted in cooperation with the servers’ manager, a resident of Cyprus. With his intel, the operation was able to seize four websites connected to SSNDOB, which had generated more than $19 million by selling the names, dates of birth, and social security numbers of US citizens.
Apple AirTag allegedly linked to US murder.
The Indianapolis Star reports that a woman was been arrested for the alleged murder of her boyfriend last week, and it appears she used an Apple AirTag to track down the victim. Reports say Gaylyn Morris told the patrons of a bar in the US state of Indianapolis that she had used the tracking device to follow her boyfriend, who she suspected was cheating on her, to the drinking establishment. After finding and confronting Andre Smith, she reportedly ran over him with her car three times, and police pronounced him dead at the scene. AirTag is marketed as an innocuous tool to help users find their keys or other lost objects in conjunction with the FindMy app, but this is not the first time the device has been connected with alleged unwanted tracking. In a recent update, Apple stated that the network is “built with privacy in mind,” using end-to-end encryption and a “first-ever proactive system to alert you of unwanted tracking.” However, the Washington Post notes, those safety features have been found to be unreliable, especially for Android users. Though Morris initially denied to authorities that she had used the AirTag to track Smith, she eventually admitted to placing the device in the backseat of his car. She has been preliminarily charged with murder and is awaiting final charges.