Developer Jailbreaks Google Glass, Reveals Its Hidden Dangers

May 2, 2013 16:34:24Posted by John Skorick, MyAKA Founder & CEO


Developer Jailbreaks Google Glass, Reveals Its Hidden Dangers

Google's latest project, Google Glass, is one of the most hotly anticipated piece of technology around. Though it's still in its development stage, many are looking forward to these wearable computers, which will allow users to take pictures and video, send text messages and look up information online, completely hands free. At the same time, some people have brought forward mobile privacy concerns regarding Glass, worrying that individuals could use the tech to surreptitiously videotape others without their knowledge, for example.

Google representatives and proponents of Google Glass who have tested the project say there is nothing to worry about, because users have to speak out loud to activate the camera, making it difficult to record people unknowingly. However, a recent experiment by well-known developer Jay Freeman finds that Google Glass isn't as secure as some might have you think.

Jailbreaking the Glass
Earlier this week, Freeman announced via Twitter and this blog post that he had been able to "jailbreak" a Google Glass headset, meaning he devised a method to strip away the restrictions placed on the device. He says that hackers could potentially find ways to control a user's Google Glass remotely.

"Once the attacker has root on your Glass, they have much more power than if they had access to your phone or even your computer; they have control over a camera and microphone that are attached to your head," he writes in his blog. "A bugged Glass doesn't just watch your every move; it watches everything you are looking at (intentionally or furtively) and hears everything you do. The only thing it doesn't know are your thoughts."

For example, Freeman writes, a hacker would be able to easily gather a user's passwords for other devices, because presumably the Google Glass owner would be wearing them when entering passwords on a computer, tablet or smart phone. It doesn't take much imagination to see how dangerous such scenarios could be.

Of course, in order for a person to be able to hack into the Google Glass, he or she first needs to obtain one. This isn't as difficult as it may sound, Freeman notes, because the glasses do not require a PIN or password to be entered in order to use them. Presumably, if you left your Google Glass lying around, any old thief could grab them, hack into them and put them back without you noticing.

Let This Be a Reminder
Google may find a way to prevent the flaw that allowed Freeman to hack into a pair of computerized glasses, but this should be a reminder to all mobile device users that nothing is as secure as it seems. Just like in the above scenarios, if you leave your smart phone lying around and have neglected to use the safeguards of a password or PIN log-in, you could find your own mobile identity has become compromised. To keep your data safe, you must use any and all techniques available to protect your mobile hardware.