iPhone Surveillance: Your Phone Is Watching

JR - Author

Apr. 2 2014, Updated 4:25 p.m. ET

Have you heard the latest surveillance concern floating around the tech world? Your iPhone may be storing an electronic log of your virtual footsteps, and it could one day be used against you.

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iPhone hacker/data forensics expert Jonathan Zdziarski explained the issue in a webcasted demo today. Zdziarski says the iPhone hangs on to a temporary cache of everything that happens on the handset — texting, surfing, you name it — for the purpose of pulling off its fading transition effect when you go back to the main screen. While those images are in a temporary cache, Zdziarski says they would be simple to recover. In fact, he says those very snapshots have already been snagged and used in various criminal investigations. Worst of all, Zdziarski claims there’s no way to keep the cache from being collected — or to permanently delete it at the end of the day.

Now, we hope you aren’t using your phone for any murder- or rape-related purpose, but maybe you’ve done a few less than moral things or sent some questionable messages that the iPhone might have witnessed — all stuff you probably wouldn’t want to become public knowledge if, for some reason, circumstances sent your phones into the wrong hands.

If it makes you feel any better, the cache feature isn’t the only way your iPhone could screw you if you’ve been screwing around. Zdziarski says forensics experts could also pull data from browser caches (deleted or not) and even from a keyboard cache.

The webcast also revealed a step-by-step way to completely get around the iPhone’s passcode and break into anyone’s phone. Good times all around.


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