/>
X

How to spoof your GPS geolocation on Facebook Places or Twitter

Proof of concept: Ever wanted to rob a bank and give yourself an alibi? Want to bunk off work and prove you're going to the doctors? Now you can.
|
zack-whittaker-hs2016-rtsquare-1.jpg
|
Topic: Finance
483328.png
1 of 37 Zack Whittaker/ZDNet

Facebook has released the updated application for BlackBerry handsets which finally brought Places, the location-based tagging facility to rival the popular Foursquare service.

Yet with this, the developers must not have taken into account the BlackBerry Simulation Software, which for all intents and purposes is a fully functional device for the desktop yet purely for simulating the phone and testing applications, can be used to spoof your Facebook Places and Twitter status locations.

This screenshot gallery will guide you through everything. If you want to, however, go right to the good bit, by all means skip to it by clicking here.

--
Please read the disclaimer! You can find this and more, including the explanation - as well as the pro's and con's of using spoofed geolocation on the ZDNet iGeneration blog.

483335.png
2 of 37 Zack Whittaker/ZDNet

To get things going, you'll need to download a few prerequisites just to make sure everything ticks over. The simulator will require a few components, plus an extra one to get Internet access on the simulated device.

The chances are you have Java on your system already, but just in case you don't, head on over to the website and download it.

--
Please read the disclaimer! You can find this and more, including the explanation - as well as the pro's and con's of using spoofed geolocation on the ZDNet iGeneration blog.

483336.png
3 of 37 Zack Whittaker/ZDNet

Again, you may already have the Java Development Kit (JDK) but just to be on the safe side, you can download the JDK 6 Update 21. You can download it from here and the installation process is very easy. It may install the Java Runtime Environment (JRE) too  or update it, even though you need this kit anyway.

--
Please read the disclaimer! You can find this and more, including the explanation - as well as the pro's and con's of using spoofed geolocation on the ZDNet iGeneration blog.

483337.png
4 of 37 Zack Whittaker/ZDNet

You need to download the simulator from the BlackBerry website. It's free and easy to install and get going. Provided you have a broadband connection, it will go fairly quickly.

I opted to download the Bold 9700 simulator on a generic network. It makes very little difference, but if you want to follow this guide completely without a hitch, as well as using a BlackBerry version you may already be used to, download this one here. To download a simulator of your choice, follow this link here.


You will have to register and tick a few boxes, but make sure that you hit the 'remember' button for later on as it'll just make your life easier when downloading the MDS. Iif you need to install more components, the setup installer will guide you through it. Simply keep hitting Next and it will download everything you need for you.

--
Please read the disclaimer! You can find this and more, including the explanation - as well as the pro's and con's of using spoofed geolocation on the ZDNet iGeneration blog.

483338.png
5 of 37 Zack Whittaker/ZDNet

Mobile Data Service (MDS) allows you to send and receive data from your simulated device - essentially giving it Internet access. To access social media and other needed items for this, you'll need to download the MDS.

You can download the MDS here, or if that link doesn't work, you can also try here instead and downloading it from the 'Simulators' section.

--
Please read the disclaimer! You can find this and more, including the explanation - as well as the pro's and con's of using spoofed geolocation on the ZDNet iGeneration blog.

483339.png
6 of 37 Zack Whittaker/ZDNet

You can find MDS in the Start menu. For most novice users, if you see a command prompt window with text whizzing around, it can be somewhat daunting. In this case it's totally fine. You should be able to start MDS without a restart, and within seconds it should start displaying vast amount of text which makes no real sense, and then appears to pause. This is normal.

Do not close down MDS, otherwise the device will lose connection to the Internet.

--
Please read the disclaimer! You can find this and more, including the explanation - as well as the pro's and con's of using spoofed geolocation on the ZDNet iGeneration blog.

483340.png
7 of 37 Zack Whittaker/ZDNet

You may need to unblock MDS or Java from the firewall, but this is perfectly normal. MDS acts like a bridge between the Internet and your simulated device, and your simulated device cannot run online without MDS running in the background.

Do not close down MDS, otherwise the device will lose connection to the Internet.

--
Please read the disclaimer! You can find this and more, including the explanation - as well as the pro's and con's of using spoofed geolocation on the ZDNet iGeneration blog.

483341.png
8 of 37 Zack Whittaker/ZDNet

Again, starting the simulator is about as easy as getting the MDS to work. You scroll through the Start menu and select the simulator that you installed. As you can see, I have two installed - the 9700 (Bold) and the 9800 (Torch), but the 9700 (Bold) is the one that most people have, so we'll use that one instead.

Be warned, this acts as a virtual machine. It will churn up your RAM like a fat person in a cake shop. It could use up to 500MB of memory, so be sure that you have got plenty to spare - and you might want to think about closing down other applications you may not be using.

--
Please read the disclaimer! You can find this and more, including the explanation - as well as the pro's and con's of using spoofed geolocation on the ZDNet iGeneration blog.

483342.png
9 of 37 Zack Whittaker/ZDNet

Normally this part will take ages on an actual BlackBerry device (on older versions it's called "the washing machine": the spinning icon which means "I'm busy, leave me alone"). But on the simulator it will be much faster and be pre-configured so you don't have to spend ages configuring all the settings as you would normally on an actual device. This may take a couple of minutes, instead of the usual 5-7 minutes on a normal handset.

--
Please read the disclaimer! You can find this and more, including the explanation - as well as the pro's and con's of using spoofed geolocation on the ZDNet iGeneration blog.

483343.png
10 of 37 Zack Whittaker/ZDNet

You may wish to familiarise yourself with the simulator and the operating system. It's relatively simple; just avoid using the keyboard except for only letters and numbers to type, and use the simulator's buttons for everything else.

The first thing you should do is to test network connectivity by going to the browser (the fifth one along in this screenshot) and try Google or something. It should work, provided you've got MDS running in the background as your network bridge.

--
Please read the disclaimer! You can find this and more, including the explanation - as well as the pro's and con's of using spoofed geolocation on the ZDNet iGeneration blog.

483344.png
11 of 37 Zack Whittaker/ZDNet

You need to install BlackBerry App World to enable you to quickly and easily download and install Facebook, Twitter and any other social media utility you want. Geolocation is supported on Facebook (Places), Twitter, UberTwitter and others. To download BlackBerry App World for your simulated device, go to www.blackberry.com/appworld/download in your simulated device browser, follow the prompts and install it.

--
Please read the disclaimer! You can find this and more, including the explanation - as well as the pro's and con's of using spoofed geolocation on the ZDNet iGeneration blog.

483345.png
12 of 37 Zack Whittaker/ZDNet

Once you have done this, you will be able to see BlackBerry App World either in the home screen menu, or in the Applications or Downloads folder. 

--
Please read the disclaimer! You can find this and more, including the explanation - as well as the pro's and con's of using spoofed geolocation on the ZDNet iGeneration blog.

483346.png
13 of 37 Zack Whittaker/ZDNet

From here, you can either search for either "Facebook" or "Twitter", or just look at the most popular applications for this week. You can bet your bottom dollar that they will be on there near the top somewhere.

You may need to create yourself a new BlackBerry ID, which is formed as your email address plus a password. This can all be done from your simulated device screen.

--
Please read the disclaimer! You can find this and more, including the explanation - as well as the pro's and con's of using spoofed geolocation on the ZDNet iGeneration blog.

483348.png
14 of 37 Zack Whittaker/ZDNet

You will find that downloading and installing happens very quickly on the simulated device. It shouldn't take too long even on a slower connection, but hold on. Once they are done, we can get started in tweaking the simulated GPS and therefore your check-in location on Facebook or Twitter.

--
Please read the disclaimer! You can find this and more, including the explanation - as well as the pro's and con's of using spoofed geolocation on the ZDNet iGeneration blog.

483349.png
15 of 37 Zack Whittaker/ZDNet

You might kick yourself...

...because the BlackBerry simulator allows you to tweak the GPS to any location on the planet, and the applications on the device respond as such. Of course this is just to test out applications, but why nobody has used it on Facebook Places before is beyond me. But then again, Facebook Places has only been out for the BlackBerry this past week, so it's not much time to really click on to this sort of thing.

By editing the GPS location through Simulate > Add > then editing the Name, Latitude and Longitude, which you can get by enabling the LatLong tool on Google Maps Labs, you can spoof your Facebook Places into thinking you're in one place when you're not. Always add more than 7 satellites though as this makes the device think you are in a more accurate location than it is.

--
Please read the disclaimer! You can find this and more, including the explanation - as well as the pro's and con's of using spoofed geolocation on the ZDNet iGeneration blog.

483350.png
16 of 37 Zack Whittaker/ZDNet

As you can see, by opening up Google Maps for BlackBerry on the simulated device, after entering in the location of Buckingham Palace - the official residence of HM the Queen of England, it displays as such with extreme accuracy, even though I hadn't left my office at my house sixty-miles away in Kent.

--
Please read the disclaimer! You can find this and more, including the explanation - as well as the pro's and con's of using spoofed geolocation on the ZDNet iGeneration blog.

483352.png
17 of 37 Zack Whittaker/ZDNet

Once you have logged into Facebook on your simulated device, go to the very right hand side of the top menu and select Places.

Provided that you are using the latest version of the software, Places should be enabled. If not, go to the Options in Facebook for BlackBerry and select Check for Upgrade and it should start downloading automatically.

--
Please read the disclaimer! You can find this and more, including the explanation - as well as the pro's and con's of using spoofed geolocation on the ZDNet iGeneration blog.

483353.png
18 of 37 Zack Whittaker/ZDNet

It should instantly acquire your location as the time it takes for the simulator to pass on the GPS co-ordinates to the simulated device should be instant.

If this doesn't work, you need to re-sync the GPS on the simulated device. Instructions can be found within this gallery here.

As you can see in this screenshot, I have already checked into London Heathrow Terminal 5, which in this case was a false check in.

--
Please read the disclaimer! You can find this and more, including the explanation - as well as the pro's and con's of using spoofed geolocation on the ZDNet iGeneration blog.

483354.png
19 of 37 Zack Whittaker/ZDNet

There should already be a landmark present based on the location you have given. Out of over 500 million users across nearly every country on the planet, it would be unlikely not to find the landmark you are after. Either select the landmark or choose the Add a Place option instead.

If this doesn't work, you need to re-sync the GPS on the simulated device. Instructions can be found within this gallery here.

--
Please read the disclaimer! You can find this and more, including the explanation - as well as the pro's and con's of using spoofed geolocation on the ZDNet iGeneration blog.

483355.png
20 of 37 Zack Whittaker/ZDNet

As you can see in this example, Buckingham Palace has already been added to Places. You may also see a map, which seems to be prevalent only if your default mapping application is BlackBerry Maps. Nevertheless, here you can add a status if you so wish and also tag friends.

If this doesn't work, you need to re-sync the GPS on the simulated device. Instructions can be found within this gallery here.

--
Please read the disclaimer! You can find this and more, including the explanation - as well as the pro's and con's of using spoofed geolocation on the ZDNet iGeneration blog.

483356.png
21 of 37 Zack Whittaker/ZDNet

In this case, I will tag a friend of mine, Martyn who also has a BlackBerry and is in on this stunt as well. You simply enter their name and depending on their privacy settings, they will be added and tagged in that location also without any authorisation on their part (which in itself is a privacy breach)

--
Please read the disclaimer! You can find this and more, including the explanation - as well as the pro's and con's of using spoofed geolocation on the ZDNet iGeneration blog.

483357.png
22 of 37 Zack Whittaker/ZDNet

Once you have done all of that, simply hit the Check In button (not in this screen; was too slow to screenshot it) but you will see that all of the people tagged, including yourself, have been checked into the location that you spoofed. Ta da!

--
Please read the disclaimer! You can find this and more, including the explanation - as well as the pro's and con's of using spoofed geolocation on the ZDNet iGeneration blog.

483358.png
23 of 37 Zack Whittaker/ZDNet

Everyone else should see this too, depending on your privacy settings. This is exactly how it will look like, though it will appear as Facebook for iPhone if you are using an iPhone device on your friends' screens.

--
Please read the disclaimer! You can find this and more, including the explanation - as well as the pro's and con's of using spoofed geolocation on the ZDNet iGeneration blog.

483359.png
24 of 37 Zack Whittaker/ZDNet

Here is where the proof lies, and where you can fool your friends. By clicking on the place tagged in the status, it opens up a page which shows how many people have previously checked into that place. (For example, Buckingham Palace's check-in page can be found here).

However, if you simply hover over the link you will see a map that will display in a hover-over window. If you click on this link, it will take the co-ordinates of where you checked in on the simulated device and display them in a new window on Bing Maps.

--
Please read the disclaimer! You can find this and more, including the explanation - as well as the pro's and con's of using spoofed geolocation on the ZDNet iGeneration blog.

483360.png
25 of 37 Zack Whittaker/ZDNet

...and when you zoom right in, it will display those co-ordinates exactly. Sometimes it helps to select to satellite view, because this could narrow down the exact location far easier when you see a satellite aerial image of the place. As you can see, I 'am' in the Queen's private quarters towards the back of the Palace... but I never left my house in Kent sixty miles away.

--
Please read the disclaimer! You can find this and more, including the explanation - as well as the pro's and con's of using spoofed geolocation on the ZDNet iGeneration blog.

483361.png
26 of 37 Zack Whittaker/ZDNet

To try it again, you need to go back through the simulator and edit the GPS settings accordingly. After you've done this, go to on your simulated device from the Home Screen > Options > Advanced Options > Location Services. From here, you need to refresh the GPS as the simulated GPS settings will still be applying the old co-ordinates. Simply go to the menu and select Refresh GPS.

--
Please read the disclaimer! You can find this and more, including the explanation - as well as the pro's and con's of using spoofed geolocation on the ZDNet iGeneration blog.

483362.png
27 of 37 Zack Whittaker/ZDNet

After refreshing the GPS, it should appear with your new co-ordinates.

--
Please read the disclaimer! You can find this and more, including the explanation - as well as the pro's and con's of using spoofed geolocation on the ZDNet iGeneration blog.

483363.png
28 of 37 Zack Whittaker/ZDNet

So to really push things a bit, how about checking myself and my friend into one of the most secure buildings in the United Kingdom - MI6, the Secret Intelligence Service, the government department that James Bond worked for in the film adaptations of the original Ian Fleming books. This should be a piece of cake, seeing as we've already been in the Queen's bedroom.

--
Please read the disclaimer! You can find this and more, including the explanation - as well as the pro's and con's of using spoofed geolocation on the ZDNet iGeneration blog.

483364.png
29 of 37 Zack Whittaker/ZDNet

Again, just as before, after you have refreshed the GPS location on the simulator and the simulated device, simply check in to the place that's relevant to you on the list. In this case, let's hit MI6.

--
Please read the disclaimer! You can find this and more, including the explanation - as well as the pro's and con's of using spoofed geolocation on the ZDNet iGeneration blog.

483365.png
30 of 37 Zack Whittaker/ZDNet

Just to add an extra level of hilarity, I am also tagging a friend of mine, again, Martyn where we will both appear to be doing some "crazy spy... stuff" at the location. Simply hit Check In and the job is done.

--
Please read the disclaimer! You can find this and more, including the explanation - as well as the pro's and con's of using spoofed geolocation on the ZDNet iGeneration blog.

483366.png
31 of 37 Zack Whittaker/ZDNet

As you saw before, once you have checked in you can see that both the status of yourself and your (optionally) tagged friend now appears at the location you have specified - without leaving the comfort of your own home.

--
Please read the disclaimer! You can find this and more, including the explanation - as well as the pro's and con's of using spoofed geolocation on the ZDNet iGeneration blog.

483367.png
32 of 37 Zack Whittaker/ZDNet

After a few times of trying this out, you can now see some of the places I have been. Considering that all of these places are within the M25 (the motorway which surrounds London) and taken at specific times, it is not unconceivable that I have not in fact been to all of these places. You could easily state that you are say, on the corner of East 14th and 3rd in New York and twenty minutes later be by the Flat Iron Building at 5th on Broadway. Because these are timed carefully, it makes it even more plausible that I am in fact at these places, when I am not.

--
Please read the disclaimer! You can find this and more, including the explanation - as well as the pro's and con's of using spoofed geolocation on the ZDNet iGeneration blog.

483368.png
33 of 37 Zack Whittaker/ZDNet

If you thought that it was only exclusively an issue on Facebook Places, you can also do it on Twitter. It doesn't really matter which client you use, so long as it supports Twitter's location feature. In this case, I decided to use UberTwitter because frankly, it has greater features available than that of the official Twitter for BlackBerry application.

I had already spoofed my location at this point to set myself back at Buckingham Palace, which is based basically in Green Park, an area of London. To make a point of this, I tweeted to say that I was not in Green Park or at Buckingham Palace at the time - but who's telling the truth, GPS or me? (It wasn't the GPS, as I've already shown).

Make sure though that the location button is turned on. It may display incorrectly at first, or display something out of the ordinary - so in that case, try turning off the UberTwitter location feature through the options, but enable the Twitter geolocation feature instead.

--
Please read the disclaimer! You can find this and more, including the explanation - as well as the pro's and con's of using spoofed geolocation on the ZDNet iGeneration blog.

483369.png
34 of 37 Zack Whittaker/ZDNet

Once you have tweeted, you should be able to see the results instantly. You may have to trial and error this one, but once you have got it right the first time, the settings should stick.

--
Please read the disclaimer! You can find this and more, including the explanation - as well as the pro's and con's of using spoofed geolocation on the ZDNet iGeneration blog.

483370.png
35 of 37 Zack Whittaker/ZDNet

To quickly check whether the spoofed GPS tweet has worked, click on the Retrieve Map button and it should load from within UberTwitter based on the mapping utility you chose during the setup process.

--
Please read the disclaimer! You can find this and more, including the explanation - as well as the pro's and con's of using spoofed geolocation on the ZDNet iGeneration blog.

483371.png
36 of 37 Zack Whittaker/ZDNet

As you can see here, it has loaded up the area of Green Park in between St. James Park and Buckingham Palace Gardens. In fact, for those who know London, this is directly the spot where I tweaked the GPS earlier on - directly on Buckingham Palace.

--
Please read the disclaimer! You can find this and more, including the explanation - as well as the pro's and con's of using spoofed geolocation on the ZDNet iGeneration blog.

483372.png
37 of 37 Zack Whittaker/ZDNet

And from the tweet on the desktop, you can see that indeed it displays in the vicinity of Green Park - but my followers who see this in their Twitter stream can pop it open to the right hand side, and zoom right in on my location.You cansee this tweet here, and for those who know New York, I bet you can probably guess where I am spoofing in this tweet here - when I was demonstrating this to my colleague Mary Jo Foley.

--
Please read the disclaimer! You can find this and more, including the explanation - as well as the pro's and con's of using spoofed geolocation on the ZDNet iGeneration blog.

Related Galleries

How blockchain technology can transform our world
b3.jpg

Related Galleries

How blockchain technology can transform our world

6 Photos
Halloween '13: What tech frightens us most
modis-survey-2013-what-tech-frightens-us-most.jpg

Related Galleries

Halloween '13: What tech frightens us most

6 Photos
DBS Bank transforms customer experience with tech
branchmeet-and-greet.jpg

Related Galleries

DBS Bank transforms customer experience with tech

10 Photos
ZDNet App Wrap: September 17, 2012
feedlyfinal.jpg

Related Galleries

ZDNet App Wrap: September 17, 2012

8 Photos
ZDNet App Wrap: September 10, 2012
anzapp1.jpg

Related Galleries

ZDNet App Wrap: September 10, 2012

8 Photos
Tech IPO busts from the Internet boom (gallery)
6364429.jpg

Related Galleries

Tech IPO busts from the Internet boom (gallery)

10 Photos
Office and computer pranks
6353511.jpg

Related Galleries

Office and computer pranks

14 Photos