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Next Generation of Android Malware Steals 3D Maps of Your Location

Steven Blum

According to the MIT Technology Review, researchers at Indiana University have created a new type of malware that can record, map and reconstruct a victims' location using their phone's camera and sensors. 

The new type of malware is called "Place Raider" and while it's just a concept, it could be used to create a 3D model for the army to use in rescue situations, or to steal confidential information such as bank details from bad guys.

The malware works by quitely taking pictures at random that are tagged with the time, location and orientation of the phone while muting the phone's shutter sound. It maps the locations of the pictures using the phone's gyroscope, GPS and accelerometer. Once taken, the photos are uploaded to a central server where they are combined to create a 3D model of the indoor location where the photos were taken. The software takes special note of financial data, barcodes and QR codes.

My immediate reaction to the headline was "ZOMG" but the more I think about it, the more I believe it would be pretty hard to actually create a 3D model of a place based on a phone's camera alone. The victim would have to do a lot of walking around with their phone and make sure their camera wasn't covered up by a finger or pocket. The malware would also need to take potentially hundreds of pictures for it to analyze a space.

But as an experiment, it's certainly interesting. What do you think?

(Top photo: Wall-E, copyright Disney)


Write new comment:
  • CJ Brown Oct 2, 2012 Link

    there's a fine line between being used to solve a crime, or enhance intel information retrieval vs. Big Brother spying on your every move (another legal debate pending once this technology is implemented) ...

  • bobby burress Oct 2, 2012 Link

    great another bigbrother 1984 tool

  • rita williamson Oct 1, 2012 Link

    i think its pretty cool..the things they come with nowadays...:) but,good job!

  • Christopher Silva
    • Admin
    Oct 1, 2012 Link

    This seems like an interesting hypothesis, but in fact does not seem practical.. Of course, I could be wrong.

  • giola francesco Oct 1, 2012 Link