Privacy is one of the top concerns of mobile device owners today. All these news regarding location tracking is worrying most users. Just lately we heard news that the major spy agencies are able to get the location of an individual through the Angry Birds game. The good news is that there are tools available now to more or less make it difficult for anyone to track your location.
Chainfire has made available a proof of concept app called Pry-Fi which completely shuts down your device’s Wi-Fi service (which includes the background network scanning) making it difficult to track your location.
According to Chainfire
“Retailers, crooks, the government, and others shady individuals are tracking your movements. Even when your Wi-Fi is turned off, your phone may be broadcasting information to whomever is in range which can be used both to track repeated visits to as well as your exact movements in an area under surveillance.”
“It’s not a big step to couple this to personal information – a retailer for example, could track your trip to the register and correlate with your payment information. Now the tracking hardware and software vendors, the store (or chain) owner, their business partners, they can now all track where you are every time you come into range of one of their systems, and fully profile who you are, what you do, your financials, and your daily patterns!”
Pr-Fy works by preventing the broadcast of all the networks that it knows to the outside world however it can still allow background scanning and connects automatically to a wireless network. When a user is not connected to any wireless network the MAC address of the device is constantly pseudo-randomized, following a pattern that tricks trackers into thinking that you are a real person however your real MAC address will not appear again in their database.
Even if companies that do the tracking say that they will not use the data maliciously there is always the possibility that it may be abused in the wrong hands. There also does not seem to be any laws made against this practice which is why an app such as Pri-Fy is useful under these circumstances.
The app even has what is being called as the “Warmode” which once enabled makes your Android device appear like a dozen people. A few minutes in an area that has Wi-Fi surveillance enabled will definitely ruin the tracking data collected.
Pri-Fy is currently in version 1.20 at the Google Play Store and can be installed on a rooted device running on at least Android 4.2.