Precise Location Data Leak Found in Google Home and Chromecast Devices

Google Home and Chromecast GPS location leak [Fix Incoming]

The implication of this vulnerability doesn't limit to location data leak.

Google originally marked this issue as intended behavior when Young reached out in May, but the company has since changed its position.

"I've been consistently getting locations within about 10 meters of the device", Young told independent security blogger Brian Krebs, who got an exclusive first look at Young's findings.

Websites can usually obtain a general idea of the user's location through the IP address of the device accessing the website, but this method isn't extremely precise and the privacy of visitors is protected to some extent. "If you have a device and it allows you to do something without a password, it's very likely that an attacker can do the same using a malicious mobile app or via web pages with DNS binder rebinding, or via some other technique we haven't thought of yet". Craig Young, the researcher who discovered the flaw, says that "Although Google's app, which uses this functionality, implies that you must be logged into a Google account linked with the target device, there is, in fact, no authentication mechanism built into the protocol level". This makes it possible to extract the location data from the devices, Young wrote in a Monday blog post. "Commands to do things such as setting the device name and WiFi connections are sent directly to the device without any form of authentication". While many people are used to anonymous - and often unspecific - email scams, attackers could use precise location information to make them all-the-more convincing (and dangerous). “Threats to release compromising photos or expose some secret to friends and family could use this to lend credibility to the warnings and increase their odds of success, ” he said.

Young told PCMag the flaw is perfect for advertisers in search of someone's location.

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From devices that order our groceries to smart toys that speak to our children, high-tech home gadgets are no longer the stuff of science fiction.

The test found that the Fredi Megapix home CCTV camera system operated over the internet using a default administrator account without a password, and Which? found thousands of similar cameras available for anyone to watch the live feed over the internet.

Google is expected to release a fix for the bug in mid-July.

'An attacker can be completely remote as long as they can get the victim to open a link while connected to the same Wi-Fi or wired network as a Google Chromecast or Home device, ' Young said. You also need to keep that link open for roughly a minute (the amount of time it takes to get a location), but that's not necessarily hard if there's enough content to distract the target.

'The attack content could be contained within malicious advertisements or even a tweet'.


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