SecuritySecurity Management

Waze Flaw Means Hackers Could Now Follow You Home

Michael Moore joined TechWeek Europe in January 2014 as a trainee before graduating to Reporter later that year. He covers a wide range of topics, including but not limited to mobile devices, wearable tech, the Internet of Things, and financial technology.

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Travel app reportedly comes under attack, but denies hackers are able to manipulate its systems

One of Google’s most popular apps has issued a statement defending its security protections after reports that hackers were able to breach it to spy on users.

Waze, which allows drivers to upload real-time traffic information and create maps of disruption, was apparently vulnerable to a hack that would allow hackers to track a users’ whereabouts in real time without them knowing.

Tracked

Waze-Logo largeResearchers at the University of California Santa Barbara said that they were able to allowed researchers to populate Waze with “ghost cars”.

These fake user profiles could be used to spy on other, real profiles, known as Wazers, near to their location, allowing the user to monitor the movements of others, as well as creating fake traffic jams or alerts.

Using these fake profiles, the team were able to track an American reporter across two US states for three full days.

However, Waze, which was bought by Google back in 2013, has now released a statement saying that this is not the case, reassuring users that, “a stranger cannot search for / find your Wazer on the map and follow you”.

“The Waze ecosystem is built upon trust and deep respect for all of you – real-time traffic simply doesn’t work without the participation of our community, and we are constantly reviewing and adding safeguards to protect our users,” the company wrote in a blog post.

“User accounts were not compromised, there was no server breach and Wazer account data is safe.”

The company is recommending that any users worried about their privacy activated “invisible mode”, which removes their vehicle from the app’s mapping system.

“Nothing is more important than the relationships we’ve built with our drivers and we look forward to continuing to build our global community in open conversation with all of you,” the company said.

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