Military-Made Android Malware Spies Through Your Smartphone Camera

Researchers from the U.S. Navy and Indiana University have created an Android app named PlaceRaider, which can secretly create a 3D virtual map of your location using your smartphone's camera.

A frightening amount of virtual surveillance and monitoring is possible through this trojan.  Disguised inside a photo app to grant itself all the necessary permissions to take control of the camera, PlaceRaider takes a photo every two seconds (without any shutter sound being made whatsoever), then tags each picture with the time, location and orientation of the phone.  All this data is then gathered and uploaded onto a central server, where a rich three-dimensional model of your immediate environment is constructed.

Hackers can gain insight into your sensitive data (say a detailed image of your office is captured for example, with the victim's personal financial data lying on a desk) to rob you virtually, or burglars can track your whereabouts, learn your surroundings, and gain an understanding of your daily timetable to exploit times when you leave your house unattended.  You can be exploited like never before.

Anyone who isn't on the Android update cycle can rejoice though, as PlaceRaider works on versions of Android 2.3 Gingerbread or above (this does cover 75% of the userbase).  But on a more serious note, you shouldn't be worried about being hit by this.  As it was developed in a joint research project between Indiana University and the Military, chances are it won't get into the hands of the bad guys.  However, this does demonstrate just how easily monitored we can be with the development of technology.

Plus with this technology in the hands of the Navy, who are controlled by the Government, the words "Big Brother is watching you" come to mind.  Then again, I just love conspiracies.

Source: PlaceRaider: Virtual Theft in Physical Spaces with Smartphones (Research paper)