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Experts Concerned Over Looming Security Risks of Ultrasonic Cross-Device Tracking

Cross-device tracking (XDT) technologies are gaining popularity among marketers as they enable tracking a user's visited content across different devices and pushing relevant, more targeted content. In the upcoming Black Hat London presentation, security researcher from University College London, Vasilios Mavroudis and colleagues are going to describe and demonstrate the practical security and privacy risks that arise with the adoption systems enabled with ultrasonic cross-device tracking (uXDT).

— "The uXDT technology has caught the attention of major companies (e.g., IDG Ventures, Google, Nestle, Dominos), many of which either invested in uXDT providers (e.g., SilverPush, Signal360, Audible Magic), or approached such companies as clients. Unfortunately, unbeknownst to the users, we found that numerous mobile applications, some with millions of downloads, include uXDT advertising frameworks that actively listen for ultrasounds, with no opt-out option for the users! Security experts and the authorities (e.g., the Federal Trade Commission) have promptly raised concerns about uXDT, but until now no comprehensive security analysis of the technology has been released."

— The group plans to "explore the uXDT ecosystem, dig into the inner workings of popular uXDT frameworks, and perform an in-depth technical analysis of the underlying technology, exposing both implementation & design vulnerabilities, and critical security & privacy shortcomings that we discovered."

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