Claim: Photos taken with your smartphone can provide others with the locations of the people pictured and allow hackers to clone your phone.
Example: [Collected via e-mail, August 2013]
"Warning" If you, your kids or grand kids take pics from your phone — WATCH THIS!
This is truly alarming — please take the time to watch. At the end they'll tell you how to set your phone so you don't run this risk!
PLEASE PASS THIS INFO TO ANYONE YOU KNOW WHO TAKES PICTURES WITH THEIR CELL OR SMART PHONE AND POSTS THEM ONLINE.
I want everyone of you to watch this and then be sure to share with all your family and friends.
It's REALLY important info, about what your posting things on your cell phones can do TO YOU!!!
Too much technology out there these days so beware ...
PLEASE TAKE THE TIME TO WATCH THIS VIDEO, AND TAKE THE RECOMMENDED PRECAUTIONS.
If you have children or grandchildren you NEED to watch this. I had no idea this could happen from taking pictures on the blackberry or cell phone. It's scary.
Origins: Digital photographic devices (e.g., digital cameras, smartphones, scanners) typically use a standard known as Exchangeable image file format (Exif) that specifies how additional informational data may be stored with images as they are created. When you snap a picture with your digital camera, you may also (depending upon the type of camera and its settings) be capturing information about the date and time you took the photo, the camera type and the settings you used to take
One of the types of data that may be stored with images created by devices that use the Exif format is location information. Many mobile phones (and some digital cameras) now have
However, most modern digital cameras do not automatically add geolocation (Latitude and Longitude) metadata to pictures. The process for adding the geolocation data either requires specialized add on hardware, or post processing with software on the desktop after the pictures are taken.
There is a large exception to this rule: Smartphones. With the proliferation of smart phones that contain GPS locator technology inside, the cameras in these devices are already equipped with the specialized hardware to automatically add geolocation information to the pictures at the time they are taken.
Most people don't realize that the action of automatic geotagging takes place on their smart phones, either because it is enabled by default, not exposed the user as an option, or was asked and then forgotten. As a result, individuals often share too much information about their location, right down to the exact Latitude and Longitude when snapping photos with their smartphone and posting them online.
Picture-takers have a number of ways of avoiding storing location information with their photographs or eliminating it from existing pictures. Turning off your device's GPS feature is the most straightforward way: if your camera or smartphone can't use GPS to determine where you are when you take a picture, it can't store that information with your photo. After the fact, you can use an Exif metadata editor to remove or change information stored with your photographs, or you can use a photo editor or converter program to save your photographs in a format that does not support Exif metadata. A January 2014 variant warned that hackers could not only discern your location from posted smart phone photos, but they could use information embedded in those pictures to clone your cell phone:
Last updated: 7 January 2014