News24

iPhone secretly spies on users

2011-04-20 22:21

Washington - A pair of British security researchers said on Wednesday that the latest version of Apple's operating system for the iPhone and the iPad is constantly recording the location of the devices and storing the information in a hidden file.

Alasdair Allan and Pete Warden said the position-logging feature is contained in iOS 4, the operating system for the Apple devices which was released in June 2010.

"Ever since iOS 4 arrived, your device has been storing a long list of locations and time stamps," they said in an article posted at the website radar.oreilly.com.

"We're not sure why Apple is gathering this data, but it's clearly intentional," the researchers said, adding that it raises a number of "security and privacy implications".

"By passively logging your location without your permission, Apple have made it possible for anyone from a jealous spouse to a private investigator to get a detailed picture of your movements," they said.

"What makes this issue worse is that the file is unencrypted and unprotected, and it's on any machine you've synched with your iOS device," they said. "It can also be easily accessed on the device itself if it falls into the wrong hands.

"Anybody with access to this file knows where you've been over the last year, since iOS 4 was released," they said.

Allan and Warden announced their findings at the Where 2.0 conference in San Francisco. They were first reported in The Guardian newspaper.

Allan and Warden said they had contacted Apple's product security team about their findings but had not heard back.

They said the device stores latitude and longitude co-ordinates along with a time stamp, probably through cell-tower triangulation,

They noted that cellphone companies typically have access to this data but it is not usually stored on a mobile device itself.

Comments
  • antonfrank81 - 2011-04-20 22:46

    whoopi do, so what!

      Tigra - 2011-04-21 08:27

      So you want the next tech-savvy criminal to steal your phone and then to know your movements?!?

      LBS - 2011-04-21 10:30

      Just try different moves

  • G0ldf!nger - 2011-04-21 00:50

    Great. I'm gonna attach my iPod to my iPhone, and my iPhone to my iPad, and my iPad to my iMac, and finally my iMac to my car keys... coz I'm always losing those. At least now I'll always know what the co-ordinates to my car keys are. Thanks Apple. You guys think of everything!

      daaivark - 2011-04-21 06:51

      HA HA HA. Great!

      Underdawg - 2011-04-21 07:31

      Only to discover that your iCar has been stolen.

      daaivark - 2011-04-21 08:00

      iCrap!

  • kidblack - 2011-04-21 01:12

    YOU WHERE AT THE PARK EATING HOT DOGS AGAIN WERENT YOU! I KNEW LAST YEAR IN THE SECOND WEEKEND OF JULY YOU LIED TO ME! YOU LIED TO ME!

  • Bennie - 2011-04-21 05:18

    Why would they care about each indivual....We would like that, won,t we?

      daaivark - 2011-04-21 06:52

      Ah, wouldn't you just love to know....

  • Robert Cerff - 2011-04-21 07:33

    Wow... imagine Microsoft doing something like this? They would be put to the sword. Guess they don't really have the same kind of cult follower that Apple do. There's the lesson Microsoft, you should inflate your prices, make sure it doesn't work with anything but another Microsoft product - but by all means make it shiny and colourful!

  • munchies - 2011-04-21 07:34

    Ha ha, love some of these fanboy comments. If this happened on a Microsoft device it would of been an outrage! So typical to defend apples products, regardless of logical reason. This is wrong of apple, I hope it hurts their sales!

      Robert Cerff - 2011-04-21 07:51

      It won't for some reason god (Jobs) seems to be able to get away with anything. It'll be justified somehow.

      daaivark - 2011-04-21 13:37

      Ah, OK Jacques. If it's been featured on Fox and mentioned by Kissinger it's got to be true. Don't make me laugh. This sort of theorising was around long before Kissinger and will still be around when we're both dust. Ignorance of absurdity doesn't bother me in the least.

  • thakaali - 2011-04-21 07:39

    Big Brother people...these things must happen and will continue to happen, so that there will be no place on Earth where you can hide from the government and the coming New World Order

      daaivark - 2011-04-21 08:01

      HA HA HA - "coming New World Order"... Too precious.

      Jacques - 2011-04-21 13:07

      @daaivark, your pretty ignorant, henry kissinger and david rockefeller who shape our world today literally, have been talking about it for a long time, and kissinger himself said he believes its obama's job to bring about the nwo. an american show on fox even talked about it openly where a famous comedian said bring on the nwo. whoever controls money is more powerful than standing armies alone a famous once said. so people dont have to worry about it because its gonna happen anyway. i myself would buy an i phone because its basically a little laptop, the technology is amazing.

  • daaivark - 2011-04-21 08:02

    They're doing odd jobs around the house again, are they?

  • jacoh124 - 2011-04-21 08:35

    There is not much time left. 21 April 2011. Iphone is actualy Skynet which went life on Tuesday. It will become aware of its self today (48 Hours later)and then it will be the end of the word as we know it. If the phone knows where everybody is, it is easy to take out everybody. Acording to Sarah Connor Chronicles - WE MUST FIND JOHN CONNOR NOW. LOL

      Viparo - 2011-04-21 09:56

      Come with me if you want to live

  • Rob - 2011-04-21 09:08

    I just love these comments on the various stories. I look every day for entertainment. Better than any comedy on TV. South Africans have a unique and special humor. Some of the political comments reveal characteristics about folk that leave me in no doubt as to why we`re in the sh1t were in though.

  • rurapente - 2011-04-21 09:18

    blah blah blah. People blow everything out of proportion! And if they wanted to any mobile company could position any cellphone at any time with triangulation. So run and switch your cellphones off! Oh yes and cancel your bank cards so they dont know which ATM u visited 10mins ago... honestly some people are bored.

  • Shistirrer - 2011-04-21 09:26

    It only takes one rotten Apple to spoil the whole barrel!

  • Seperetla - 2011-04-21 09:39

    SH!T.... This explains why my tech-crazy girlfriend specifically bought me this phone on my birthday while we agreed she would buy me a Nokia. And she keeps appearing everywhere I go. I m drowning it as soon as I finish typing this comment. Nerdy B*tch!!!!!

      Mizer - 2011-04-21 15:10

      Lol...good one mate

  • GveHmAnChan - 2011-04-21 11:34

    Does not sound true. Could Just be for publicity. Since about year ago apple encrypted the contents of your iPhone.

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