A group of security experts have exposed a loophole that allows hackers to successfully identify an individual, accurately track their location, as well as keep a constant eye on their file sharing habits.
Researchers have documented the vulnerability in a paper called, "I Know Where You are and What You are Sharing: Exploiting P2P Communications to Invade Users' Privacy." In the report, the researchers have tried to draw attention to potential vulnerabilities present in real time online communication platforms such as Skype. Skype happens to be a massively popular VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) platform, acquired by the Windows maker Microsoft Corporation earlier in the year.
“We have shown that it is possible for an attacker, with modest resources, to determine the current IP address of identified and targeted Skype user[s] (if the user is currently active),” the 14-page paper states, according to a report (opens in new tab)by The Register.
“In the case of Skype, even if the targeted user is behind a NAT, the attacker can determine the user's public IP addresses,” it added.
The attack, according to researchers, could be carried out for a wide variety of purposes, including tracking an individual’s mobility, as well as for monitoring his or her Internet usage.