Tag Archive: driver


PREVENTING USER AND HARDWARE TRACKING IN MOBILE DEVICES
by 
David Robert Stites

B.S., Purdue University, 2007

Thesis directed by Professor Rory Lewis

A thesis submitted to the Graduate Faculty of the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Science
Department of Computer Science

© Copyright By David Robert Stites 2012 
All Rights Reserved

Mobile devices, such as smartphones or PDAs, have become increasingly popular with consumers and often provide essential functionality in their everyday life. Usually these mobile devices contain a great deal of sensitive information such as addresses, contacts, ingoing/outgoing call logs, SMS messages and, on the latest models, a calendar, emails and potentially the user’s current location. A smartphone or mobile device today can be as powerful as a desktop or laptop in some respects and, while the latest models feature a complete OS, for many users these devices are “just phones” so there is an underestimation of the risk connected to mobile device privacy. There is a currently existing privacy problem associated with user and hardware tracking in mobile devices. Users can be tracked without their knowledge and consent and have rich profiles built about them using their hardware interface address regarding their location and preferences. This information can be potentially cross correlated to other existing datasets to build advertising profiles for these users. The mitigation to this problem using a framework to support randomly generated, disposable hardware addresses.

Full text of the document can be found here: PDF

Recently I started doing some interesting security work. I downloaded a great series from Vivek Ramachandran on 802.11 Wireless Hacking. For the series, he suggested using the Alfa Networks AWUS036h card. Because I have a wedding coming up and I need to save money, I wanted to see if I could get it working without that since I had an old USB dongle from NetGear (WG111v1). When I plugged it in initially to my BT5 VM, it brought up the error message “(p54usb) cannot load firmware isl3887usb (-2)”. Using ndiswrapper is a fine way to go if you never plan on using monitor mode with the network card but for the tutorial series, I needed to have this capability. To solve this issue, simply use the following command and you’ll be good to go with your wireless adapter if it can use the p54 driver.
apt-get install linux-firmware-nonfree

This was all discovered after several hours of building drivers, realizing that I accidentally downloaded the x64 version of BT5 (which is why the drivers weren’t working), ndiswrapper doesn’t (and won’t ever) support monitor mode.

All code owned and written by David Stites and published on this blog is licensed under MIT/BSD.