Scan for GPS location exposure in images with this Burp & ZAP plugin.
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Image Location & Privacy Scanner

Passively scans for GPS location and other privacy-related exposures in images during normal security assessments of websites via plug-ins for both Burp & ZAP. Image Location & Privacy Scanner (ILS) assists in situations where end users may post profile images and possibly give away their home location, e.g. a dating site or children's chatroom.

More information on this topic, including a whitepaper based on a real-world site audit given as a presentation at the New Jersey chapter of the OWASP organization, can be found at .

This software finds the GPS information inside of Exif tags, IPTC codes, and proprietary camera codes. Then, the Image Location & Privacy Scanner flags the findings in the Burp Scanner or ZAP Alerts list as an information message. It would be up to the auditor to determine if location exposure is truly a security risk based on context.


Special thanks to:

  • The fine folks at Aspect Security for performing initial tests of the alpha software and providing awesome feedback.
  • Simon Bennetts, the leader of the ZAP team, for code reviews and help adding to the alpha channel.

Usage Requirements

The Image Location & Privacy Scanner runs as both a Burp and ZAP plug-in. Requires:

Burp Installation

Burp Application Store: Launch Burp and click Extender tab → Bapp Store → left pane → Image Location & Privacy Scanner. In the right window pane, the version and description of the plug-in will be shown; click the Install button to download and activate.

Manual Install: Go to Extender → Extensions → Add. Choose the type as Java, choose the Image Location & Privacy Scanner jar file (you built or downloaded), leave Standard Output & Error as "Show in UI" and then click Next. The next screen will show the "Image Location & Privacy Scanner: plug-in version 1.0" if successful or display errors on the Error tab. Click close to return to Burp.

Note: This is a scanner-type plug-in and the scanner is disabled in Burp Free version. So, the plug-in will only function inside of Burp Pro.

ZAP Installation

The Image Location & Privacy Scanner is available as part of the beta channel in the ZAP Marketplace. Currently, version 1.0 is present in the channel and in the ZAP source code tree. An issue has been made to elevate version 1.0 into the release channel. Image Location & Privacy Scanner also can be downloaded and compiled directly into ZAP.

Sample Run

Configure the web browser to proxy through Burp or ZAP per the instructions of those products. Then, browse to a few sample sites to see Alerts being raised:

  • Sample Exif Site:
  • MetaData Extractor's SampleOutput page contains some good images. But first, in order to view the URLs below, you may need to obtain a GitHub session cookie first by going to MDE on GitHub.
    • iPhone 4 shows GPS data.
    • FujiFilm FinePix S1 Pro has embedded IPTC locations and keywords.
    • Panasonic DMC-TZ10 shows proprietary Panasonic tags including city, state, country along with facial recognition information, like the name and age of the person in the picture. Burp screen shot of this shown to the right and ZAP is shown below.
  • This professional photographer leaves Exif in many photos:

The ILS jar file contains a main() function, so it is possible to directly run the scanner from the command line on local files. The classpath must contain the ILS jar file along with the supporting jars for the MetaData Extractor and the Adobe XMP library. To from the command line, just do:

$ java ...
Java Image Location & Privacy Scanner
Usage: java ILS.class [-h|-t] file1.jpg file2.png file3.txt [...]
	-h : output results in HTML format
	-t : output results in plain text format (default)

# Call using the jar file from the Burp packaging
java -classpath image-location-scanner-all.jar com.veggiespam.imagelocationscanner.ILS file1.jpg file2.png file3.tiff

# Example command line output
Processing Panasonic DMC-TZ10.jpg :
Location Exif_GPS: 53° 8' 49.65", 8° 10' 45.1" 
Location Panasonic: City = OLDENBURG (OLDB.)
Location Panasonic: Country = GERMANY
Location Panasonic: State = OLDENBURG (OLDB.)

Privacy:: Panasonic: Face Recognition Info = Face 1: x: 142 y: 120 width: 76 height: 76 name: NIELS age: 31 years 7 months 15 days
Privacy Panasonic: Internal Serial Number = F541005110191

Processing Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX7.jpg :

Privacy Panasonic: Internal Serial Number = F111311090158

Processing j2.jpg : Location Exif_GPS: 40° 18' 54.92", -74° 39' 37.85"

Note the names of the jar files could be different, please confirm them.


  • Why do I see two sets of Exif_GPS coordinates (or other tag)
    • This means the image has been embedded with multiple Exif tags of the same type. Thus more than one GPS location can appear. The ILS software displays all that are detected.
  • You missed the serial number for Camera Type X
    • Could be true. This information exposure list was built by scanning all tags availbable as part of MDE. If something new was added, then ILS needs to also account for it. File a bug report on github.
  • Why does it say "City = " with no city listed
    • It actually says "City = \0\0\0\0\0 ..." with maybe 64 nulls. In newer versions ILS, we simply filter out strings that start with a null character. We assume someone isn't hiding data there.
  • When I use ZAP, nothing shows up
    • If you have images disabled in Global Exclude URL, then the passive image scanner, like ILS, will be unable to see the images and report on privacy issues.
    • Note: As of promotion to beta and rollout of 1.0 ILS/ZAP will passively scan images without additional setting changes (as were previously required for 0.4 in alpha).
  • When I use Burp, nothing shows up
    • You probably have the display filter set to hide images, uncheck the box on the filter in the Targets tab.

Build Requirements

† These will be auto-fetched if you build with Gradle.

The system is built with Gradle: gradle fatJar

That will build the Burp plug-in and it can manually be loaded into Burp. Version 0.2 of the plug-in is included in ZAP's GitHub repo and included with ZAP. To build, use Eclipse. Version 0.4 is not fully integrated with ZAP just yet. It will work with ZAP, just needs to be properly included into the alpha/beta channels; someone can help with that please.

Version History

  • 0.1 -
    • Initial release
    • It works
  • 0.2 -
    • Added location scanning inside IPTC tags and proprietary Panasonic codes
    • Added scanning of png and tiff files
    • Replaced Sanselan with MetaData Extractor and Adobe XMP libraries
  • 0.3 -
    • Fixed bugs where some codes Proprietary Camera codes were displayed as ID numbers instead of text
    • Strip out tag that are \0 null values or array of nulls
    • More testing of IPTC with good results
    • Updated to MetaData Extractor 2.9.1 for new XMP embedded in Exif tag support and other bug fixes
    • Detect multiple instances of categories, for example, if there are many sets of Exif GPS records, all are displayed.
    • Added display of camera serial numbers FujiFilm, Nikon, Olympus,Canon, Sigma
    • Added display of camera owner name for Canon
    • Added support for HTML formatting in the Burp output
    • Command line version output in text or HTML formats
  • 0.4 -
    • New official name: Image Location & Privacy Scanner
    • Updated to MetaData Extractor 2.10.1 & XMP Core 6.1.10
    • Some XMP support removed via MDE; XMP tags weren't correct in some cases. Those tags will be introduced again in a future MDE
    • Removed legacy jar dependencies.
    • Build process is now Gradle only, Makefile is dead
    • Added display of camera serial numbers for Leica, Reconyx Hyper Fire, Reconyx Ultra Fire
    • Now shows name and age of facial recognition in Panasonic cameras
  • 1.0 -
    • Gradle build automatically downloads the Burp API jar, so no need to include code in Git repo any longer
    • Fixed mixed spaces-and-tabs, thanks to ZAP's @kingthorin
    • Fixed a chance of an image causing HTML-injection inside of Burp; I theorized it existed (maybe a non-Burp app calling ILS would result in full-blown XSS against the infosec tester), but @pajswigger from Burp/Portswigger actually exploited this type of injection in the form of <i> tags, since Burp rejects <script> tags
    • Nicer Makefile (sigh, yes, I still use make)
    • Enhanced READMEs, FAQs, screenshots, etc

Random Future Todos

  • Idea from Burp's @pajwigger: It's quite common that servers return 304 not modified. It might be a good trick, if you see a request for an image, and there's only 304s in the site map – that in an active scan you fetch the image.
  • Need better testing and examples.
    • Get more IPTC test images with both location names and GPS positions. ILS tests for names, but it is unknown if IPTC GPS works as no real world images have been provided for testing.
    • More testing with PNG & TIFF file types. Burp and ZAP will flag what ever MetaData Extractor finds.
    • Donate any new test images to MetaData Extractor project for better cataloging.
  • There is much repeated code. It would be better to use function pointers. String of subtype, Class type, int[] of TAGS. One of these days, I'll do that.
  • Get the ZAP version into the mainline build; at alpha now, we need:
    1. Add i18n support, including a few translations.
    2. Custom wiki page on ZAP website.
    3. Dynamic Load() and Unload() -- is this required for passive scanners.
    4. Help file integration.
  • More generalized research. Images with embedded locations were found in a real-world situation with high privacy implications; thus a severe audit finding and the impetus for this project. This images have also been seen on other sites with local expectations of privacy. However, we need people to try the tool when browsing sensitive sites, like dating or children-only social networking sites. How pervasive is the issue on sensitive websites?
  • White paper with better examples of "how to fix".
  • Get a Eclipse + ZAP environment working so I can test those updates easier.

Keywords: Infosec, Burp, ZAP, Audit, Information Exposure, Vulnerability, GPS, Exif, XMP, IPTC, PII