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Privacy at risk: systems that use Wi-Fi to see through walls are arriving


Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh created a controversial system. How does it work.

Using Wi-

Fi signals

to see where people are and what they are doing or where technological devices are located, even if it sounds like something out of a science fiction movie,

it is already a reality


The level of detail and the simplification of the systems recently opened a

new controversy in the field of privacy


Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh (United States) developed a method that makes it possible to

detect the three-dimensional shape and movements

of human bodies in a room using only Wi-

Fi routers


To do this, they use a system called


(developed among others by artificial intelligence experts from Facebook) that

maps all the pixels on the surface of the human body

and a deep neural network (an artificial intelligence) that assigns the amplitude and phase of the signals. wifi sent and received at those coordinates of human bodies.

"The results reveal that our model can estimate the position of multiple subjects with a visual performance comparable to that of image-based approaches using Wi-Fi signals as the only input," says Jiaqi Geng, a technician at the Institute of Robotics of the aforementioned university, in the article where he summarizes his work.

What's more, according to Geng, his system for detecting people using Wi-Fi signals has the advantage that

it is not affected by bad lighting

or obstacles, which does prevent

accurate images with a camera.

Wi-Fi wireless signals can detect objects behind walls.

Photo: Shutterstock.

In addition, says the researcher, it

offers advantages in terms of cost and energy consumption

compared to equipment based on radar technology or laser remote sensing, among other reasons because most homes in developed countries already have Wi-Fi installed at home.

"This paves the way for low-cost, widely accessible, privacy-preserving algorithms for human detection," says Geng.

Because, instead of seeing his device as a threat to the intimacy and privacy of people, this scientist believes that

his system protects

it because it allows monitoring the behavior of elderly or dependent people, for example, in a non-invasive way.

The new Wi-Fi technology that detects movements

But Geng's isn't the only system that uses Wi-Fi to see through walls.

A team of researchers from the University of Waterloo (Canada) recently presented a device weighing just 10 grams, which can be used by drones or carried in a pocket, and which

accurately determines the location of any

Wi- Fi-enabled device on the ground .

inside a building.

Its developers say the device, called


, takes advantage of a Wi-Fi security loophole that means that even when the network is password-protected, mobile phones or other smart devices automatically respond to contact attempts from any other device. within its scope.

"Wi-Peep sends multiple messages to a device while in flight and then measures the response time in each case, allowing it to pinpoint its location to within one meter," University of Waterloo sources explain. 

Drones with Wi-Peep devices can help locate people in any type of environment.

"Wi-Peep devices are like lights in the visible spectrum and walls are like glass," explained Ali Abedi, a professor of computer science at this institution.

In addition, the professor said that using similar technology "someone could track the movements of security guards inside a bank by following the location of their smart phones or watches; or a thief could identify the location and type of smart devices that are there." in a home, including security cameras, laptops, and smart TVs.

The fact that the device can be operated by drone means that it can also be used remotely, quickly and remotely to make it difficult for its user to be detected, acknowledges Professor Abedi.

Hence, the researchers at the University of Waterloo urge specialists to fix this security loophole in Wi-Fi technology (called Polite Wi-Fi) and, in the meantime, ask Wi-Fi chip manufacturers to introduce

artificial random variation

into the response time of smart devices that makes it difficult for tools like Wi-Peep to calculate your location results inaccurately.

look also

Email scams and account theft: seven steps to prevent cyberattacks

How to shield yourself against cyberattacks: from the "digital condom" to FIDO keys and encrypted disks

Source: clarin

All tech articles on 2023-01-29

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Tech/Game 2023-01-09T09:31:01.498Z

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