Become a MacRumors Supporter for $25/year with no ads, private forums, and more!

Nike+iPod Sport Kit Reportedly Vulnerable to Surveillance

MacRumors

macrumors bot
Original poster
Apr 12, 2001
51,482
13,110
https://www.macrumors.com/images/macrumorsthreadlogodarkd.png

The design of the Nike+iPod Sport Kit leaves it vulnerable to potential surveillance of the wearer, according to a team led by University of Washington doctoral student T. Scott Saponas.

Their research report describes the potential for privacy and personal security problems if the transmissions of the in-shoe sensor are intercepted. The sensor is designed to transmit a unique code, identifying the shoe and therefore its wearer, to an iPod. The wearer may not realize that the sensor is normally on (it can be switched off), and that another person or monitoring system could track their location from as far as 60 feet away.

The report describes demonstration systems that Saponas and his research partners set up. One such system monitors the signals, identifies the wearer by the unique code, and uploads the data to a server that uses Google Maps to pinpoint and track the wearer's location in real-time.

According to the report, the Nike+iPod designers could have used simple cryptographic techniques to avoid or lessen these potential problems.
 

Doctor Q

Administrator
Staff member
Sep 19, 2002
38,441
4,950
Los Angeles
They also modified a third-generation iPod to be a surveillance device.

Their goal was to report the potential for invasion of privacy and even criminal activity. They will NOT release their surveillance software publicly and they suggest that Nike+iPod Sport Kit owners turn off the sensor when not using it.

A video accompanies the report.
 
Comment

Tha_Sylent1

macrumors newbie
May 30, 2003
19
0
Great... we are tagged like cattle.:mad::rolleyes: Is this something that can be fixed with some sort of patch? I'm guessing if it could be patched it could also be worked around? As of late, "security vulnerabilies" and "Apple" have been nearly synomous with one another...:eek:
 
Comment

dguisinger

macrumors 6502a
Jul 25, 2002
840
1,206
Funny.
I'm sure you could setup GSM repeaters and reprogram them to watch a person's cell phone as they walk around.

I really don't see the problem. Making a mountain out of a mole hill.

So what if you can slip it in someone's backpack.

I can buy radio direction finders and transmitters online and do the same.
Or I can buy GPS trackers, and also stick it on someone's car.
Those solutions are easier, more accurate, etc......and not terribly expensive.

I mean, they still need several Nike receivers in the perfect locations vs using regular direction finding or GPS tracking.....
 
Comment

flir67

macrumors 6502
Jun 23, 2005
256
0
LOL.. that was hilirous... hay this is better than geocaching, its people caching... alright whos got the first famous person tag.

just kidding :D




Wow. Combine this with war driving and you have a new sport. People tagging.
 
Comment

Doctor Q

Administrator
Staff member
Sep 19, 2002
38,441
4,950
Los Angeles
I can buy radio direction finders and transmitters online and do the same.
Or I can buy GPS trackers, and also stick it on someone's car.
Those solutions are easier, more accurate, etc......and not terribly expensive.
That speaks to the point these researchers are making. They used the Nike+iPod Sport Kit as their example, but their message is that all sorts of gadgets with wireless communications capabilities can have these types of problems, especially if thought isn't give to the issue during design.
 
Comment

dguisinger

macrumors 6502a
Jul 25, 2002
840
1,206
That speaks to the point these researchers are making. They used the Nike+iPod Sport Kit as their example, but their message is that all sorts of gadgets with wireless communications capabilities can have these types of problems, especially if thought isn't give to the issue during design.

Doesn't matter, if you are going to go around planting sensors and planting a transmitter in someone's backpack, there are alot easier and possibly even cheaper ways. No one in their right mind would do this other than to prove its possible.

Last i heard someone could track me when I walk down the street too
 
Comment

nagromme

macrumors G5
May 2, 2002
12,546
1,196
So you could theoretically build and conceal tracking stations all over the place and thus monitor these short-range transmissions. Wouldn't it be simpler just to hide cameras all over?
 
Comment

Tha_Sylent1

macrumors newbie
May 30, 2003
19
0
So you could theoretically build and conceal tracking stations all over the place and thus monitor these short-range transmissions. Wouldn't it be simpler just to hide cameras all over?

That's it, I've had enough crazy talk for one night!:p
 
Comment

dguisinger

macrumors 6502a
Jul 25, 2002
840
1,206
So you could theoretically build and conceal tracking stations all over the place and thus monitor these short-range transmissions. Wouldn't it be simpler just to hide cameras all over?

It would be much simpler to get a radio tracking system (like they use on wildlife) for like $500 and drop the transmitter in their bag, purse, tape it to their car, etc. You can do alot of things in theory. Practicality usually brings people to the easier means....
 
Comment

MacinDoc

macrumors 68020
Mar 22, 2004
2,266
5
The Great White North
https://www.macrumors.com/images/macrumorsthreadlogodarkd.png
The wearer may not realize that the sensor is normally on (it can be switched off), and that another person or monitoring system could track their location from as far as 60 feet away.
Are they serious? I can track someone from as far as 600 feet away, just using my eyes.

It would be impossible to spy one someone if you had to remain within 60 feet of them at all times...
 
Comment

dguisinger

macrumors 6502a
Jul 25, 2002
840
1,206
Are they serious? I can track someone from as far as 600 feet away, just using my eyes.

It would be impossible to spy one someone if you had to remain within 60 feet of them at all times...

Exactly. Its basically a very close proximity detector.

What you see here is classic:
1) iPod is famous
2) I want to be famous
3) Tell the media the iPod will help stalkers kill you
4) Profit
 
Comment

Doctor Q

Administrator
Staff member
Sep 19, 2002
38,441
4,950
Los Angeles
People have had similar worries about the RFID (radio frequency identification) tags used in passports, subways, and which stores may use to manage inventory. Many of us are walking around with data on us that can be scanned or with information being transmitted from our gadgets.

Most people don't seem to be worried about this type of problem. And even if they were made aware of the small potential risk, they might still choose convenience -- being easy to identify and track when they want it to be easy -- over privacy and safety concerns.

Meanwhile, if researchers regularly point out potential flaws, manufacturers may think a little bit harder about privacy concerns.
 
Comment

dguisinger

macrumors 6502a
Jul 25, 2002
840
1,206
People have had similar worries about the RDIF (radio frequency identification) tags used in passports, subways, and which stores may use to manage inventory. Many of us are walking around with data on us that can be scanned or with information being transmitted from our gadgets.

Most people don't seem to be worried about this type of problem. And even if they were made aware of the small potential risk, they might still choose convenience -- being easy to identify and track when they want it to be easy -- over privacy and safety concerns.

Meanwhile, if researchers regularly point out potential flaws, manufacturers may think a little bit harder about privacy concerns.

Blah, there is no flaw. My 802.11b card transmits its MAC address on a broadcast when its on. My phone transmits its SIM card number. Its a hell of a lot easier to modify those than the iPod. This is just a case of get your name out there so others will hire you as a security consultant or engineer of sorts.

Don't want it to transmit all the time? Turn it off when its not in use.
Do you know how many of those suckers would have to be placed to track a jogger running thru Central Park? maybe hundreds easily if they are limited to 60ft. The cost would be huge, pay off little.

Answer is simple: Use radio direction finding or GPS tracking. Easier. Cheaper for anyone who leaves their house. More accurate. More Flexible. Used by wildlife researchers to police to spy agencies, its proven to work effectively.

If you watch the video on CNN, the person practically has to be walking by the researcher for them to detect them. Totally worthless.
 
Comment

Doctor Q

Administrator
Staff member
Sep 19, 2002
38,441
4,950
Los Angeles
My 802.11b card transmits its MAC address on a broadcast when its on. My phone transmits its SIM card number.
I think you are agreeing with their point, that our devices identify us and are not hard to track, while taking issue with their choice of example. Is that right?
 
Comment

dguisinger

macrumors 6502a
Jul 25, 2002
840
1,206
I think you are agreeing with their point, that our devices identify us and are not hard to track, while taking issue with their choice of example. Is that right?

Depends; I don't fear being tracked.....I agree its possible, but much easier to track consumer electronics if you are with the FBI than joe-blow. Again, not an issue to me because I'm not doing anything stupid enough to warrant their attention.

I disagree with their tactics. Take the least dangerous device of them all, because its famous, and create publicity over something thats less effective than stalking someone at 1000ft by walking down the street behind them.

They make it sound like stalkers are going to use this; stalkers aren't going to toy with electronics for hours to make things work, they will do it the old fashioned way or by buying a radio or gps tracking system that you can find at literally hundreds of websites online for dirt cheap.

I think you are agreeing with their point, that our devices identify us and are not hard to track, while taking issue with their choice of example. Is that right?

I could also buy a dog and track down a person by sniffing their scent. Don't see the media making a big deal about that one
 
Comment

Doctor Q

Administrator
Staff member
Sep 19, 2002
38,441
4,950
Los Angeles
I agree. Nike shoes are the least of our worries when it comes to tracking.

As you said above, someone could simply watch you go by. Since cameras can now transmit their images to facial recognition software, that process could be automated as well.

And when we're calling 911 from our cell phones or trying to find our lost dog with the implanted chip or our car with the LoJack, we're glad that all of these tracking systems are in place.
 
Comment

iMikeT

macrumors 68020
Jul 8, 2006
2,304
1
California
This finding just goes to prove that there are people with way too much time on their hand.:rolleyes:

Really now, the person using the Nike+iPod has to be within 60 feet from the person who's doing the tracking? At that range, the person doing the tracking is better off following the Nike+iPod user home!
 
Comment

PODshady

macrumors member
Oct 23, 2006
81
1
St Louis
It is scary how stalkerish technology has become... The other night I typed my address into Google Earth and it pulled up a satellite image of my house... google was only 2 houses off.... that is really ****ed up
 
Comment
Register on MacRumors! This sidebar will go away, and you'll see fewer ads.