Hristo Bojinov and other researchers at Stanford have discovered a new way of digitally fingerprinting mobile devices. The method works off the fact that the accelerometers used in smart phones all have unique measurement errors after rolling off the assembly line. These errors can be found by setting the phone on a flat surface, tapping it, then flipping it over. The researchers have stood up a proof of concept site where users can find the accelerometer fingerprint of their own device.
The technique could be used by advertisers and by surveillance agencies as a method of tracking and identifying mobile devices. The current favored method for this operation, putting tracking cookies on the piece of hardware, is subject to a number of constraints. Not the least of these being that the users can delete the cookies to give themselves a fresh start in the tracking system.
Dan Gifford – MCySec Media Manager