Retailers, crooks, the government and other shady individuals are tracking your movements. Even with your WiFi turned off, your phone may send information to people within range that can track both repeat visits and your exact movements in a monitored area.
Linking this to personal information is not a huge step. For example, a retailer could track your journey to the registry and correlate it with your payment information. Now, tracking hardware and software providers, store (or chain) owners, and their business partners can keep track of where you are every time you get within range of one of their systems and describe exactly who you are and what you do, your finances and your daily patterns!
That’s just one example, but there are many uses to track you down. Make no mistake, this is what happens in the real world today.
One solution is to turn off Wi-Fi completely (including scanning the background network, a setting most people don’t know about). However, you would lose benefits like being automatically connected to known Wi-Fi networks and improved location awareness for your apps. It doesn’t help either to improve the situation for others.
Pry-Fi prevents your device from announcing all known networks to the outside world, but still allows background scanning and automatic connection to Wi-Fi networks. While you are not connected to a Wi-Fi network, the MAC address is constantly pseudorandom in a pattern that will still make the trackers believe you are a real person, but they will not find your MAC address again. This slowly poisons the tracking database with useless information.
When connecting to a Wi-Fi network, your MAC address is also chosen randomly unless otherwise specified. The same MAC address will not be used the next time you connect to this or any other network.
While the companies involved in these trackers naturally claim they are not using the data maliciously, the possibility exists and we all know it, if at all can be abused, ultimately it is become Be. There doesn’t seem to be any laws in place against these practices yet, nor is it likely that Wi-Fi will be redesigned anytime soon to stop the information leaks.
But we can Try to reduce the usefulness of the tracking data to the exploiters. Pry-Fi comes with one war Mode that, when activated, tries to make your Android device appear like dozens of people. Wandering around an area under WiFi location monitoring for just a few minutes can ruin tracking data for the length of your stay.
This is proof of concept code, and how it will work in the future depends on interest and how well it works. It has been tested on multiple devices and appears to work, but is still very young. The magic that the app works to achieve its purpose is subject to constantly changing Android security guidelines and OEM adaptations. While it works now, there is really no word on whether this will still be possible in future firmwares.
Of course, you should also keep in mind that tracking can be done in many ways and these W-Fi signals are nowhere near the only method used.
Further details, information on device compatibility, frequently asked questions, discussions etc. can be found on XDA-Developers.com here:
– Force toolbox calls. Typical case of busybox symlinks causing unexpected errors. Probably the main cause of people losing WiFi completely
– Service recipients are now dynamically activated / deactivated. Saves some CPU cycles and memory when Pry-Fi is installed but disabled.
– Support for several SSIDs known at the same time
– The spoofing of MACs * also * while connected to a network is now a separate function.