• noble okonkwo

How Your Location Can Be Monitored Without Your GPS

Source: Photo by Nahel Abdul Hadi on Unsplash

What if I told you that your location can be monitored without you having to turn on your GPS? It's quite frightful, right? Let me narrow it down.

Google maps have been of great in recent times. Don't know the directions to a place? It’s not a problem anymore. Just type in the address and you'll be shown the direction alongside the estimated time of arrival. (Just don’t allow FRSC to catch you looking at your phone)

When we download apps, we're mostly asked to grant some permissions. But do you really understand these permissions you continually grant to third party applications?

Permissions on your mobile device

Xxx app would like to access your photos and videos, you click “allow always”

Xxx app would like to access your contacts, you will still rush and click “allow always”

Xxx app would like to access your documents, and you’ll rush to click “allow always”

But do you understand the implications of allowing third party apps these privileges. Do you even read terms and conditions sef?

Your location can be tracked (E shock you?)

Your location can be tracked Zudera
Image by mmi9 from Pixabay

Just so you know, it is possible that your location can be monitored without you having to switch on your GPS. These apps can do so by accessing your phone's accelerometer, magnetometer and barometer. With such privileges, they can pretty much tell your time zone, and your network status.

These sensors (accelerometer, magnetometer and barometer) can determine if you're walking, running or driving by ascertaining how fast you're moving relative to your surroundings. If it detects that you're moving at a slow pace, then chances are you're walking.

Going at a faster pace and making 90° turns could only mean that you’re driving. If you're moving any quicker than that, then you're either on a train or an aircraft (bet we all know that domestic flight passengers will give you back-hand should you decide to leave your phone on).

Your accelerometer gives off your speed, your magnetometer relays your relation to true north; your barometer establishes air pressure.

Later on, the similarities and differences between the data gotten and publicly provided information like weather forecasts are then used to determine things like high how above sea level you are.

After the sensors have discovered your mode of transportation, it then simmers it down to your exact location and it's most likely to be achieved after a few turns.

A test run of this type of application was run in Philadelphia and the exact location was gotten after the person had gone twelve turns.

How do we prevent all this?

Source: Image by Clker-Free-Vector-Images from Pixabay

1. We can be very mindful of the apps we download on our devices. Most applications use 10,000–100,000 lines of coding so it won't be hard to maneuver 2000 lines amongst all this.

2. Ensuring our apps always ask for permissions to use these sensors so we have an idea of what the app is doing while running in the background. (As a rule of thumb, always select the option “allow now.” I mean, how can you be a Nigerian and not have trust issues, how?)

3. Cutting the sampling rate of these sensors so the malicious apps can't get complete information without the phone hardware catching on easily.

While this is still a developing wahala, it is possible, and with just 2,000 lines of code. Abi we that are Nigerians would have just decided to remain with the communication models of our ancestors, where all we had to do was blow powder?

All we can do now is hope that Google, Apple and other elected representatives curb this malicious acts, and soon.

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