Geo-inference attacks: a dangerous new security threat

In today’s world, hackers are a serious threat to your IT security. There are always new kinds of phishing emails, spyware and malware programs, and nasty viruses that could possibly harm your system. Some wipe your hard drive and compromise your cloud security, while others log keystrokes and steal information. All of them can have disastrous consequences and should not be taken lightly. As technology evolves, so do the means and methods hackers employ to attack your IT systems. You could may be susceptible to the latest kinds of attacks if you don’t know how to safeguard your devices and systems.

What are Geo-inference attacks?

Geo-inference attacks enable hackers to determine exactly where you live or run your business, down to your exact street address. This vulnerability was discovered by researchers at the University of Singapore. They found that certain data is left behind when you surf the web, depending on which sites you visit, and that data could be used to pinpoint your specific location, if the conditions are right.

Sites such as Google use location data to give their visitors better search results. This data is left behind inside the browser’s cache and can be mined by certain third-party hacker websites using scripts cleverly written for that purpose.  When you use Google search data can be left behind which reveals your country, but if you couple that with the use of Google maps, the data that’s left behind in your browser’s cache could point to your city or right to your home or business address if the data is mined at the wrong time.

Which browsers are vulnerable to such attacks?

According to the researchers, all major browsers are vulnerable to geo-inference attacks. This includes Internet Explorer, Chrome, Firefox, and Opera. Furthermore, over 60% of the Alexa top 100 websites in Australia, Singapore, Japan, USA, and UK were found to leave behind some type of data that could be exploited in attacks of this type.

How can you safeguard yourself and your business?

To defend yourself against geo-inference attacks, you can use software such as Tor which prevents people from tracking your location and browsing habits. Another way to protect yourself is to regularly dump your browser’s cache, or you could use private browsing mode.

Geo-inference attacks are just one of the many threats to your IT security that currently exist. Speak to the IT experts at AWD to find out how you can protect your business.

Enquire about our IT services today.