When you’re using Google Maps or any location services, have you ever been prompted to turn on your WiFi to improve your location? Or have you never really turned it off? You might want to pay more attention to your WiFi status for your own privacy and safety.
The folks over at Ars Technica have done an experiment to find out just how much information your WiFi gives out with a simple WiFi adapter and a packet capture utility. What they found was quite shocking; every single WiFi connection that you have made in the past can be acquired effortlessly.
This issue is not new; it is inherently how WiFi works. Just like how turning on WiFi enables better location detecting accuracy, it also sends out information on WiFi connections that you have made. Considering that it is fairly easy to set up this monitoring tool, it is pretty worrying.
One might think a simple, low-power WiFi adapter and a packet capture utility would not have a very big range, but the experiment also picked up signals from adjoining buildings and even from passing cars. The fact that not many phone users switch off their WiFi even when they are not home can be a cause for concern.
The next time you’re out and about with your WiFi on, or you are prompted to turn it on for increased accuracy, think twice.
(Source: Ars Technica)