App vs. website: Which best protects your privacy? It depends

Both apps and web­sites leak per­sonal infor­ma­tion, including names, gender, phone num­bers, and e-​​mail. But don’t despair. North­eastern researchers, led by assis­tant pro­fessor David Choffnes, have devel­oped an auto­mated system to help you know which plat­form to use for your online interactions.

Researchers find that Android apps can secretly track users’ whereabouts

New research led by North­eastern pro­fessor Gue­vara Noubir reveals that some Android apps may auto­mat­i­cally transmit sen­si­tive infor­ma­tion, such as the routes you travel, through the phone’s built-​​in sen­sors. A mali­cious devel­oper, he says, “can infer where you live, where you’ve been, where you are going.”

Amazon’s quest for aerial domination

The global e-​​commerce giant released a video this week detailing its plan to use drones to deliver pack­ages in 30 min­utes or less. Here, engi­neering pro­fessor Vin­cent Harris explains why this rev­o­lu­tion won’t be landing in front of your house any time soon.

Looking ahead: Cybersecurity in 2015

U.S. busi­nesses suf­fered a score of data breaches in 2014. Here, William Robertson, an assis­tant pro­fessor and web secu­rity expert, explains what we can expect from cyber­se­cu­rity in the new year.

3Qs: Who’s got your digital dossier?

North­eastern mobile sys­tems expert David Choffnes says data bro­kering, in which the data we share online is bought and sold by third par­ties, has blos­somed into a viable industry and is the reason many pop­ular apps are free. But he says the average user knows little about how their per­sonal infor­ma­tion is shared.

Face value

Assis­tant pro­fessor Ray­mond Fu is devel­oping facial recog­ni­tion soft­ware with appli­ca­tions ranging from adver­tising to crim­inal inves­ti­ga­tions. His research recently earned him a Young Inves­ti­gator award from the Inter­na­tional Neural Net­work Society.