Chainfire’s new Pri-Fy app protects you from Wi-Fi based tracking

February 3, 2014
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The NSA revelations have made it painfully clear that privacy is endangered in our digital era. But it’s not only the NSA and other state entities that snoop on you – from retailers interested in your shopping habits to hackers looking to sell your data to the highest bidder, your private information is a hot commodity.

Chainfire, the developer behind apps like SuperSU and Mobile ODIN, addresses one specific privacy concern with his latest app – Wi-Fi-based location tracking. Dubbed Pri-Fy, Chainfire’s app protects you from entities that monitor your device’s MAC address to keep track of your location and habits. The developer mentions unscrupulous retailers, hackers, and the government among the groups that could use this form of tracking to keep tabs on you.

Put simply, Pri-Fy constantly pseudo-randomizes your MAC address, so each time you enter the range of a Wi-Fi network, the emitter is shown a different MAC address. This has the benefit of allowing you to keep your Wi-Fi open, useful for quickly connecting to memorized networks and for location-based apps. Note that Pri-Fy won’t prevent anyone from collecting your Wi-Fi data; it only makes that data useless.

Pri-Fy is designed to slowly “poison” the trackers’ database with useless information, and it even features a War mode that simulates the presence of dozens of devices.

Chainfire gives as an example of a party interested in tracking your device using Wi-Fi retailers that want to know how you move around their location. By correlating location data with register transaction, retailers could even learn your identity and other personal info.

For now, Pri-Fy is a proof of concept, but depending on its reception, Chainfire says he could further develop it. The app is now available for free in the Play Store, for rooted devices running Android 4.2 and higher.

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