Potential Honeycomb and iOS 5 Data Leak Shows Your Wi-Fi Connection History

In a time when everyone uses apps like Foursquare to willingly broadcast their location, this might not be a big deal to some, but other users might not like the invasion of privacy. There’s feature called Preferred Network Offload (PNO) that was introduced to Android devices with the Honeycomb OS but also affects iOS 5 devices, as well as laptops that run either OS X or Windows 7. While your phone searches for Wi-Fi connections, PNO broadcasts networks that your phone has previously been connected to. That could be things like “ATT786” or “MyHouse”, but it could also be very specific names that would lead others to see where you’ve been.

This mostly happens while the phone is in sleep mode, so fixing it is as easy as going into your Wi-Fi settings and disabling “Keep Wi-Fi on during sleep.” This will prevent PNO for searching for Wi-Fi connections while your phone is in sleep mode.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation has asked Google to fix this leak in their OS – which only affects phones from Honeycomb onward (which is just about everyone) – but their response was that changing it might affect “user connectivity to hidden access points,” so a fix on that scale doesn’t seem like it’s going to happen.

Like I said, I can’t imagine this being a very big deal to a lot of people, but it’s still a leak that everyone should be aware of.

via The Verge

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