iPhone Privacy

by leeannm on July 10, 2010

in Reviews

It is important iPhone users understand what privacy is and what can be done to protect it. Spyware is malicious software that is used to access personal information thereby breaching one’s confidentiality.

There have been a number of compromises that have targeted the iPhone or have been demonstrated on the iPhone. These demonstrate how easy it can be to have personal information compromised particularly if the phone has been jailbroken.

Developers distribute iPhone Apps through the App Store. These apps are signed by Apple, however some iPhones have been jailbroken meaning they can run any code. It has been these jailbroken iPhones that have predominantly been targeted.

In July 2009, it was shown how a specially crafted SMS message could be used to take control of an iPhone. Apple has since patched this vulnerability.

In November 2009, it was reported on a Security forum that a popular games developer had been collecting phone numbers from users who downloaded the application without their permission.

Also, in November 2009 a worm compromised jailbroken iPhones that replaced users wall paper with Rick Astley. Although this worm was fairly harmless, it demonstrated how easy it could be to write something more malicious and distribute widely.

Again in November, a Dutch hacker held jailbroken iPhones to ransom by demanding a 5 euro payment to unlock the iPhone. Once again, this attack took advantage of jailbroken phones where the user had not changed their default root password.

Our recommendation to reduce the likelihood of compromise to either the phone, or personal information stored on the iPhone is to take into account the elevated risk there is in jailbreaking your iPhone.

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