I know your MAC address: targeted tracking of individual using Wi-Fi

Mathieu Cunche 1, 2, *
* Corresponding author
1 PRIVATICS - Privacy Models, Architectures and Tools for the Information Society
Inria Grenoble - Rhône-Alpes, CITI - CITI Centre of Innovation in Telecommunications and Integration of services
Abstract : This work is about wireless communications technologies embedded in portable devices, namely Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and GSM. Focusing on Wi-Fi, we study the privacy issues and potential missuses that can affect the owners of wireless-enabled portable devices. Wi-Fi enable-devices periodically broadcast in plain-text their unique identifier along with other sensitive information. As a consequence, their owners are vulnerable to a range of privacy breaches such as the tracking of their movement and inference of private information (Cunche et al. in Pervasive Mobile Comput, 2013; Greenstein in Proceedings of the 11th USENIX workshop on hot topics in operating systems, pp 10:1-10:6. USENIX Association, Berkeley, 2007). As serious as those information leakage can be, linking a device with an individual and its real world identity is not a straightforward task. Focusing on this problem, we present a set of attacks that allow an attacker to link a Wi-Fi device to its owner identity. We present two methods that, given an individual of interest, allow identifying the MAC address of its Wi-Fi enabled portable device. Those methods do not require a physical access to the device and can be performed remotely, reducing the risks of being noticed. Finally we present scenarios in which the knowledge of an individual MAC address could be used for mischief.
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Mathieu Cunche. I know your MAC address: targeted tracking of individual using Wi-Fi. Journal of Computer Virology and Hacking Techniques, Springer, 2013, ⟨10.1007/s11416-013-0196-1⟩. ⟨hal-00923467⟩

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