As Apple released behind the scenes updates on whats coming next on iOS 8, Apple enthusiasts have been going wild over the new feature list. Apple will be implementing a number of notable features into iOS 8, but most notably is a feature hidden beneath the service, one that will prevent a large portion of tracking via mobile devices done through WiFi hotspots.
A method that a large portion of retailers and many other companies that engage in mobile tracking is the collection of MAC addresses, and all MAC addresses that connect through various WiFi hotspots. Users rarely evaluate the risk of connecting to wireless WiFi networks inside of coffee shops, airports, retail stores, and various other public areas, even though the risks are inevitable. Cyber criminals often utilize public hotspots to target unsecured connections with a man-in-the-middle attack and intercept users’ traffic. Those networks can also be utilized to collect detailed information about all devices the connect to them, including the devices unique identifier known as the MAC address.
The unique identifier is usually static, meaning it does not change, but in Apple’s iOS 8 update, the company will introduce MAC address spoofing when a device scans for available WiFi networks. Each device will generate unique MAC addresses when scanning and connecting to networks, a behavior that will obstruct companies engaged in mobile tracking. It is reported that retailers typically perform mobile device tracking in order to understand a customers’ movement in the store and track their behavior.
The MAC address spoofing feature to be implemented into iOS 8 is a privacy success. Especially for the fact that the process will be automated and consumers who may not be aware of such threats will be protected against mobile tracking agencies wherever they go. Not only is the iOS 8 implementation going to help defeat physical hotspot tracking, Apple is implementing the ability to set DuckDuckGo as the default search engine inside of Safari. Since the begging of Apple’s first touch screen iDevice, the only default search engines allowed were Google, Yahoo!, and Bing.
DuckDuckGo is the leading search engine for user privacy. The search engine does not track, store, or collect any data on its users and gives a raw search, meaning the search engine has no way of tracking consumers or learning anything about them. The search engine also directs users to encrypted versions of the website if available, a similar feature to the HTTPS Everywhere add-on.
Apple is implementing many new features inside if iOS 8, even some that defeat physical and digital tracking worldwide!