The speed of modern smartphones development is one of the technological miracles of XXI century. Nowadays these gadgets are designed to have numerous sensors that can monitor the environment of the user, high-speed data processors that can treat the great amount of the data and the ability to share and get info at very high speeds.

PlaceRaider Smartphones to collect spatial info about the room

And now it’s no surprising when we hear that smartphones have become a tool and an aim for malware development. There are lots of reports about video, audio, email, text stealing from personal smartphones. But there are people who want to stop it.

Programmers from Indiana University and The US Naval Surface Warfare Center (NAVSEA) presented a compilation of hidden technology of space three-dimensional modeling with the use of malicious software that can be installed on the smart phone. The developers decided to call the software PlaceRaider. It is an Android app for 2.3 version of this OS.

The authors tested the technology on 20 volunteers who were given smartphones with secretly pre-installed program. It periodically made photographs of the experimental room and recorded the data from movement sensor and traced the position of the gadget. After pre-processing (e.g. after the removal of blurry photos and the photos taken in the dark), the images were secretly sent to the access-control server.

On the server with the help of data from the motion sensors a three-dimensional model of the room was built. On average, the models obtained were detailed enough; they contained about 180-800 thousand of three-dimensional points. Special client software for point’s management and orientation was developed. This software allows to separate individual parts of the image and to consider the photos in details.

After the compilation the models were handed to other participants of the experiment. Two groups of volunteers were to discover secret information stored in the room (passwords, documents, and account numbers). In this case, one group got the real photos of the room, and the other – the three-dimensional model that was made previously. According to the authors, the three-dimensional model, as opposed to the photos, was far more convenient for finding and stealing personal information with it.

The experts emphasize that the development of the program is prompted by a desire to reveal, explore and show the hidden vulnerabilities that go together with the use of modern smartphones and tablets , no matter what type of app development (iOS development or Android development or any other ) was used. At the end of his article, they discuss a variety of software and processing methods that might impede the creation and use of this type of malware.

Author: Hello! I’m Kate and I’m a tech writer in an Intellectsoft team of iOS and Android developers! I do love everything mobile and technology related, and yes I’m a geek!