When spyware maker NSO decided to assist the government with tracking Covid-19, most people weren’t concerned about their privacy. They were happy to share the info and help reduce the spread of the virus.
The contact-tracing system, known as Fleming, was designed to allow the government to see how the virus was being passed from person to person. It seemed helpful at first, but the researchers at Forensic Architecture did some research to determine the tracking system was using real phone location data to spy on millions of people. Other apps could be doing the same thing and the only way to protect yourself is to use a residential proxy service provider such as Smartproxy.
How Was The Data Extracted?
When it was first demonstrated to governments and journalists, it was found to be storing thousands of location data points. NSO said that data was not real, but it left many people concerned about their personal security. It also warranted an investigation. Privacy expert Tehilla Shwartz Altshuler said the NSO told her that the data was obtained from data brokers.
Data brokers obtain information from their own apps that are on millions of phones. They access this information through games, websites, and other apps that people use every day. Brokers don’t just collect the data. They sell it to anyone who wants it. Many companies use it for marketing, but it can just as easily be used for illegal activities or sold to someone who may want to steal someone’s identity.
Could It Happen Again?
The Fleming data breach is just one example of how apps and programs that are designed to make life easy can also put users at risk for privacy violations. Data breaches happen all the time, and many of them aren’t taken seriously. Understanding how they happen and how to avoid them will allow you to enjoy your favorite apps and websites without worry.
What Are The Risks Of Someone Knowing Your Phone Location Data?
While the purpose of geolocation services is safety, those same services can be turned into something dangerous. Phones and apps are hacked all the time, and if the wrong person or agency gets your information, they can use it however they choose. Here are some risks to consider.
Most people won’t have to worry about dealing with a stalker, but anyone who has dealt with something like this knows how terrifying it can be. If someone is interested in following you or knowing your whereabouts, they could easily track your location to find you.
Nobody likes to deal with all those popup ads on websites and social media, and having your location services turned on could be making them worse. While this may not be dangerous, it can still be frustrating. Some ads can also lead to viruses that can do damage to your device.
Believe it or not, even your employer could be looking at your location. They may use the data to decide who is in the vicinity of the business or to keep track of you while you are on the clock.
Not everyone is okay with the government knowing their every move, but they have the ability to hack into your device and check out your location services. Nobody wants their privacy to be violated in this way, but it happens all the time.
General Violation Of Privacy
One of the most dangerous aspects of using location services is the fact that anyone could hack into your location at any time. They may choose to use your location to see if you are home before they break into it, plan an attack on your family, or even use information about your life to hack into your bank account or other important accounts.
How Can You Avoid These Issues?
If you like the convenience of using apps that require your location services to be on but also want to be safe, there are some things you can do to avoid any privacy violation issues. These things include:
- Only using trusted apps
- Turning off location services when you aren’t using them
- Using a proxy to access certain apps and websites
- Making sure your passwords are strong
- Researching apps and tracking services
How Can An Anonymous Proxy Server Help Protect You?
If you are worried that someone could be tracking you and you want to protect yourself from a privacy violation, you might want to use an anonymous proxy server. A proxy will block your location and hide details and personal information. You will be able to browse websites and use apps anonymously so nobody will be aware of your location or activity. Choose a residential proxy service provider to help you stay safe at home.
The NSO data breach may have been a blessing in disguise. It made more people aware of the risks of online location and data tracking and how common it is. If you are worried about your personal information being accessed unknowingly, be sure to protect yourself while online.