Whatever happened to a mobile (cell) phones reason for existence being nothing more than to make and receive phone calls ?
As if our rights to private security wasn't being eroded quickly enough in this online age, seems like the iPhone users are being hit particularly
I've just come across this very interesting, yet deeply disturbing, article in the Sydney Morning Herald
Every click you take, they'll be
which describes in sufficient detail the surprisingly huge amount of private information relating to the phone's user/owner that is being retained and
stored internally ... so much info in fact, the extent of which the average Iphone owner is not even aware of.
This surreptitiously stored information can potentially be accessed and retrieved by police forensic technicians and in some criminal investigations
in which the owner is being charged with having committed a crime, be used directly against that owner as evidence by which to obtain a successful
According to the article, the very popularity of the iPhone has opened up a burgeoning field of forensic study dealing specifically with data
retrieval from iPhones, the demographics of those who own them and what the phone's technology has recorded during its use by the owner.
As stated by Sam Brothers, a mobile-phone forensic researcher with US Customs and Border Protection, who teaches law-enforcement agents how to
retrieve information from iPhones in criminal cases ...
''Very, very few people have any idea how to actually remove data from their phone" ... it may look like everything's gone,'' he said. ''But for
anybody who's got a clue, retrieving that information is easy.''
To show just how seriously law-enforcement agencies are becoming regarding data retrieval from iPhone users, two years ago, a former hacker, Jonathan
Zdziarski, decided law-enforcement agencies might need help retrieving data from the devices.
It didn't take long for an initial 15-page "how-to" manual that he wrote to evolve into a 144-page book titled "iPhone Forensics". As a result of the
wealth of retrieval info disclosed by Zdziarski, he was approached by law-enforcement agencies nationwide to teach them just how much information is
stored in iPhones and other smartphones - and how that data can be gathered for evidence in criminal cases.
Since it's release in June, and according to Apple company figures, an estimated 1.7 million people have bought the latest iPhone version ... and
prior to that, Apple had sold more than 50 million of the earlier version iPhones.
And according to John Minor, a communications expert and member of the International Society of Forensic Computer Examiners, simply clearing out user
histories isn't enough to clean out the vast repository of stored data within the device.
''With the iPhone, even if it's in the deleted bin, it may still be in the database,'' he said. ''Much is contained deep within the phone.''
Most iPhone users are probably aware that their phone can take and store a picture of their iPhone's screen, however a greater majority will be
completely unaware that the phone itself automatically
shoots and stores hundreds of such images as the user closes out one application to use
another. Those 'automatic' screenshots are stored as usable and retrievable data.
According to Minor,
''Those screen snapshots can contain images of emails or proof of activities that might be inculpatory, or exculpatory''
As well as surreptitious screen shots, most iPhone users also agree to let the device locate them so they can use fully the phone's mapping functions,
as well as various global positioning system applications.
However what most users don't realize when activating this tracking function, is that it's also recording and storing the users GPS co-ordinates.'
Law enforcement agencies already use phone call histories and text messages as evidence in homicide cases. But Zdziarski, who has helped federal and
state law-enforcement agencies gather evidence, said those elements are just scratching the surface when it comes to the information police and
prosecutors soon will start pulling from iPhones.
Also according to Zdziarski, the inbuilt iPhone keyboard cache continuously records a vast amount of the users phone activity. The iPhone logs
that you type in as it learns to autocorrect so that it can correct a user's typing mistakes.
But it seems that Apple doesn't store that cache very securely, and so according to Zdziarski, someone with expertise could recover months of
typing in the order in which it was typed
, even if the email or text it was part of has long since been deleted
If the above wasn't scary enough, the iPhone can also, without the users knowledge, be surreptitiously recording and TRACKING THE USERS EVERY
It seems that every time an iPhone user closes the built-in mapping application, the phone snaps a screenshot and stores it. iPhone photos are
embedded with tags and identifying information, so photos posted online might include GPS co-ordinates of where the picture was taken and the serial
number of the phone that took it.
And finally, even more information is stored by the applications themselves, including the user's browser history, which could prove useful to police
during a criminal investigation.
WOW !! ... thankfully I don't own an iPhone and based on the above revelations, don't think I'll be in to much of a hurry to purchase one. But having
said that, I guess that sooner or later, it's inevitable that virtually ALL phones will be end up like the iPhone ... continuing to further erode away
at the users already rapidly dwindling online security
edit on 19/9/10 by tauristercus because: (no reason given)