When it comes to clarity, the advice of the NSA, the US intelligence agency, is official. The latter has published a series of recommendations on its site, warning against the risks associated with the location of smartphones, tablets and computers. Initially for their agents, these advice can be applied to everyone.
Location data is transmitted continuously
The simple fact of turning on your mobile device exposes your location data, recalls the NSA. And ISPs who collect it can pass it on, and in some cases even sell this data.
Simply connecting to a cellular network can allow someone with the necessary equipment to track you. Wi-Fi access points and Bluetooth sensors can also be used to track a person’s activities.
“Geolocation data can be extremely valuable and must be protected,” the NSA says. They can reveal details about the number of users in a location, user and supply movements, daily routines (user and organization), and uncover otherwise unknown associations between users and locations. “
Tip: Turn off location in settings.
Closing the location is not enough
The NSA then specifies that disabling the location option on your phone does not guarantee that you will be immune to any tracking.
“Perhaps the most important thing to remember is that turning off location services on a mobile device does not turn off GPS, and does not significantly reduce the risk of location risk,” the agency explains. Disabling location services only limits access to GPS and location data by applications ”.
Tip: Use a virtual private network (VPN) to help hide your location.
Your smartphone can track you even without mobile data
When mobile data is cut, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth devices can be carried to track. And the option to turn off Bluetooth does not always guarantee that this is indeed the case, warns the NSA.
And even if you turn off Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, location data can be saved and transmitted once turned back on.
Tip: Turn off all wireless connections, including Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, when you’re not using them.
Risk is not limited to mobile devices
Smartphones, tablets, and laptops are not the only ones that can provide location data.
Smart watches, fitness bracelets, as well as all connected objects, such as those related to the home (alarms, thermostat, connected lamps, etc.) are likely to share information related to your location.
And securing them is not always easy, most of these items do not offer the option of muting the location. In addition, most automatically store this data in the cloud.
Tip: Only use linked items after taking into account the inherent risks related to your privacy.
Applications and social networks present risks
Even if they are verified and downloaded through an official platform (AppStore, Google Play …), some applications can collect information, collect and reveal a person’s location Can.
Many applications ask for permission to collect data that is not necessary for their operation.
Similarly, social networks are a major risk, especially if many possible settings are not properly configured. Pictures posted on these may contain metadata that may allow anyone to locate the location where they were taken. And the photos themselves may indicate something.
Tip: Give the application as few permissions as possible, and be careful what you share on social media.
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