Sign In

Communications of the ACM

ACM TechNews

Computer Scientists Use Music to Covertly Track Body Movements, Activity

man walking

CovertBand uses music to track a person's body movement or walking motion.

Credit: Getty Images

Researchers at the University of Washington (UW) have demonstrated the use of smart devices as surveillance tools to track a user's position, body movements, and activity. The researchers remotely commandeered smart devices to play music embedded with repeating pulses, using their CovertBand software.

CovertBand exploits the principles of active sonar, sending out pulses in the 18 to 20 kHz range through the speaker of the hijacked device to bounce off objects, and picking up the reflected sound waves via the device's microphones. The device then emits the information to the hacker. "The physical information CovertBand can gather — even through walls — is sufficiently detailed for an attacker to know what the user is doing, as well as other people nearby," says UW professor Shyam Gollakota.

CovertBand also can recognize and infer repetitive motions automatically. "If you have enough data from CovertBand, you could run it through machine-learning algorithms to help classify more movements for faster identification," Gollakota notes.

From University of Washington
View Full Article


Abstracts Copyright © 2017 Information Inc., Bethesda, Maryland, USA


No entries found