Thanks to 3D modeling and mobile malware, it might not be long before someone can actually break into your home without even being on the premises. Indeed, not only can you have someone steal information from your mobile phone for identity theft purposes, but the US Naval Surface Warfare Center has shown that camera hardware could indeed become the new “thing” for acquiring a 3D model of your own home. What happens is that it is possible to create what we might refer to as visual malware that runs on your phone without you being aware of it. The application then takes images of the physical environment in which it is located.
Let’s say that you have documents lying around such as a checkbook or a driver’s license and that such personal information is within view of your cell phone. The latter will then take pictures of your physical environment in silent mode so that you can’t hear it creeping up in your home. After rejecting low-quality images, the mobile malware will use the remaining pictures in order to create a 3D model of the room in which it is located. If that’s not scary enough for you, the mobile malware tags the photos with location data and data that allow determining the position of the elements present in your room. This in turn opens the door for the perpetrator to generate a 3D model of your apartment, which can subsequently be scanned for key personal information (if you’re a thief that is).
Although permissions must be granted for many of these functions to be operated externally on your own smartphone in order to create the 3D model, it could still be child’s play to design a mobile application that, once installed, could trigger other background programs that would operate and to which you could have authorized direct access without realizing it. However, the best remedy to prevent such mobile malware activity is to be mindful of which application you install on your smartphone. Nonetheless, it is still sad to see that even in the comfort of your own home a “big brother” could presently be plotting against you.