You read that right. Android phones can be tracked without using GPS or Wi-Fi through their battery consumption alone.
A smartphone uses more battery power the farther away it is from a cellular station and if there are more obstacles in the way. With the help of a few algorithms, a team of computer science students at Stanford University has created an app to track you just by studying your phone’s battery consumption.
The team, comprising Yan Michalevsky, Dan Boneh and Aaron Schulman, said that the malicious app does not have any access to a phone’s GPS or other location providers like the cellular station or Wi-Fi. The app only has permission to access network connectivity and battery consumption, which 179 other apps in Google Play also have.
Other things such as listening to music, activating maps, taking voice calls or using social media all drain the battery, but these can be discounted through machine learning and also because they are not correlated with the phone’s location.
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