If you could see inside company buildings, neighbours’ houses and secure locations like government buildings, would you? Here, we look into the technology and security risks of applications that make this snooping scenario a reality.
Typing a postcode into the search bar of the online application echoSEC, brings up the location on a digital map; nothing out of the ordinary here. However, when we highlight a square of the area, around a building, for example, social media posts and images taken and published in that location start popping up beneath the map! It’s an interesting technology, using geo-mapping technology to aggregate social media feeds. However, in the hands of malicious users, it opens up a number of security issues, which are worth being aware of.
To get an idea of how echoSEC might be used negatively, just put yourself in the shoes of a criminal. Valuable information can be gained from an image, especially if it is accompanied by a caption or a tagged location that gives away further detail. As we search locations, we discover an image of a living room where a party was taking place. Astonishingly, the location is tagged as the first line of the owner’s address! We also managed to get a good glimpse inside company buildings, seeing their products and equipment up close. Some employees also inadvertently give away sensitive information, leaving their security pass lying visible in the shot!
So, how could this information be exploited?
There are several ways that this information could be used for gain:
Social media is a great phenomenon but it does give away a lot of information, especially with applications like echoSEC available to use. Applications like these aren’t all bad and they do have positive uses but if you are worried then turn off the location on your smartphone and don’t give away more information than you need to online.