Australian contact-tracing app leaks telling info and increases chances of third-party tracking, say security folks

The Register

The design of Australia’s COVIDSafe contact-tracing app creates some unintended surveillance opportunities, according to a group of four security pros who unpacked its .APK file.

Penned by independent security researcher Chris Culnane, University of Melbourne tutor, cryptography researcher and masters student Eleanor McMurtry, developer Robert Merkel and Australian National University associate professor and Thinking Security CEO Vanessa Teague and posted to GitHub, the analysis notes three concerning design choices.

The first-addressed is the decision to change UniqueIDs – the identifier the app shares with other users – once every two hours and for devices to only accept a new UniqueID if the app is running. The four researchers say this will make it possible for the government to understand if users are running the app.

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