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Wireless Fidelity. Ah yes, WiFi. God Bless the inventors of WiFi, who shall not be named because I don’t know who they are for the life of me (but I’m sure I can Google it). What really matters is the fact that WiFi is as vital a part of most Smartphone, tablet and computer user’s life as is water to a goldfish. And that’s vital. With all the attention to privacy, security, the NSA, the GCHQ in the UK, Edward Snowden, Wikileaks, and the list goes on and on and on. All these things are what brings me to the topic of this post. Our devices that we use to access the internet are so important to us and so widely used that we often forget the ramifications and risks of their use. WiFi, in all of its wondrous glory, has a downside or two. When we use WiFi, we typically access it via a secure or unsecure network. Usually when we are in coffee shops we access the internet via AT&T or T-Mobile WiFi HotSpots and viola we are connected. But at what cost? The cost of our privacy often times because these unsecure networks also allow criminals and organizations to access and see our data. Such a shame that a thing like WiFi can leave us vulnerable to lack of privacy.
That is where the developer Chainfire, comes in. Chainfire admits that the government can access and track our location and data through the WiFi radio transmitter on our phones. Not a nice thought. Chainfire recently posted on their Google+ page that they have released a proof-of-concept app, Pry-Fi, to help protect you while you use various WiFi locations. How does it work? Well, it randomizes the MAC address on your device of course. This makes it where trackers and methods of invasion can’t determine your location and data your WiFi radio is giving off. This is great news for the ones that want to leave their WiFi radio on all the time like I do. I have mine on because my cellular carrier has a free WiFi calling and text plan. Having WiFi on constantly makes it where I can always ensure I have a strong signal to receive texts, calls and data as long as I’m close to WiFi. The following is an excerpt from Chainfire’s release message.
“Pry-Fi will prevent your device from announcing all the networks it knows to the outside world, but it will still allow background scanning and automatically connecting to Wi-Fi networks. While you are not connected to a Wi-Fi network, the MAC address will constantly be pseudo-randomized, following a pattern that still makes the trackers think you are a real person, but they will not encounter your MAC address again. This will slowly poison their tracking database with useless information.”
Now before you run out and expect this app to run perfectly, just understand that it is in a proof-of-concept stage and therefore may have a bug or two that you should report. But otherwise test it out if you are interested and leave your feedback about it in the comment section below.
Source: Android Beat