Exploit allows anyone to see what you see through Google Glass

Back in September 2012, a security consultant by the name of Jay Freeman discovered a way to gain root access to any Android device running Ice Cream Sandwich (4.0) or Jelly Bean (4.1). He is now back to tell us that by using the same exploit on Google Glass devices, he is able to see everything that you see and hear everything that you hear.

The security exploit is not being cited as a major concern, due to the fact that the device must first be put into debug mode before the modification to the operating system can be made. It is worth noting though that, unlike many other computing devices, there is no password or authentication needed to switch the device into debug mode.

According to Freeman:

I can modify any of the software on your device. I can make it so that for the rest of your Glass’ lifetime I’m in there, too, able to get access to your camera, listen in on your microphone. I can turn off debug mode and make it look like there’s nothing changed from your perspective.

With hardware that can augment the human body, we have to take time and realize the risks at hand. We are no longer talking about your Amazon account being hacked or your PC being broken into; we are talking about someone hacking in and living your life without you knowing it. For many, the idea that someone could hack into your PC and activate your webcam or microphone is frightening, but now imagine an individual being able to follow you no matter where you go – a confidential conversation, the bathroom, your own bedroom – there is no limit to the access they could be granted.

Businesses and people alike should be concerned with the type of information that might unwillingly and unknowingly be shared to a hacker. Security monitoring concerns with devices are not new; there was and still is the idea of a malicious person being able to activate the microphone on your smartphone and listen in. With Google Glass, your entire world – video and audio – is up for grabs like never before.

What do you think – should we be concerned about Google Glass exploits or are we worrying over something that is truly nothing at all?

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Michael Archambault

Michael Archambault was an associate editor at Pocketables. He is a coder, a thinker, and a dreamer who lives on the "Microsoft side of life." His current gadget arsenal includes a Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon with Windows 8, Nokia Lumia 900 with Windows Phone 7.8 OS, and a Microsoft Surface RT.

3 thoughts on “Exploit allows anyone to see what you see through Google Glass

  • May 6, 2013 at 7:16 am

    This really isn’t anything new. When you root any Android device, there’s always the chance that a malicious app could take control. That comes with the territory. However, as long as you have a reputable Superuser app installed, it’s easy to give root access to certain apps and take it away from others.

    You just have to be careful – only download apps from reputable developers, stay away from pirated stuff, and watch what you give root access to. You’ll be fine.

  • May 6, 2013 at 10:49 am

    If my phone was out of my possession in any kind of suspicious situation, where someone could have tampered with it, I would completely wipe it and rebuild. I’d rather loose any data I failed to backup then risk someone gaining access.

    When I get a Google Glass, I’ll apply the same rules to it. As long as the exploits require the exploiter to get their hands on the device, I’m not terribly worried.

    For general users though, this might be a worry. Though, I rather expect adoption by the non-root crowd to be much slower. Google and the hacker crowd ought to be able to plug such holes before John Q Public decides to buy a Glass. This is part of the reason behind having a developer’s preview version, is it not?

    • May 6, 2013 at 11:10 am

      You are right that the threat is low at this time. The idea to take away from this article is how security concerns with Google GLASS might grow. Not everything is secure and it is always worth noting the possible concern.


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