Tag Archives: security

Tracing the iPhone’s problem

Ever wondered what a map of EXACTLY where you have been over the last month looked like? Got an iPhone? Well, here’s something you probably didn’t (but should) know!

It may come as a bit of a shock, but you might like to know that your iPhone is actually capable of doing this. The technology is nothing new or special, 3 cell phone towers are used to triangulate your exact co-ordinates which are then stored in a database with a timestamp. Due to the fact that your phone does this without the assistance of its GPS hardware, this is NOT something that can be turned off or that you can opt out of. Though this method of recording your position is potentially less accurate, it is countered by the fact that it stores this information timed to the second. Want to see what this information looks like when its displayed through a program on a computer? Check this out:

Washington DC to New York from Alasdair Allan on Vimeo.

The next interesting (or scary fact), is that it’s been happing since June 2010 with the release of iOS 4. The information is kept in a file that is synced to your computer via iTunes where it can be deleted (along with the rest of your phones back up) but the next time you sync your device a new copy of the file will be created. It is also moved to a new device when the old one is replaced.

Perhaps the most intriguing piece of information about all of this is that it took two security researchers to stumble across it for the information to come to light. Apple have stored all of this without the user’s permission or knowledge through the use of undocumented and seemingly hidden features of its mobile operating system. Telephone service providers are able to record this information however it requires legal documentation and is normally only accessible by the police. It is pretty easy for anyone who has access to your computer to get hold of this information which for some is more worrying than the fact that your phone stores it in the first place. Unfortunately at the moment there is no way of opting out of this either. Discoverers of this information have written a simple program on Mac OS X that is capable of displaying this information on a map which illustrates just how detailed the stored information is. If you’re interested in trying it out visit their website.

As someone who likes to keep my personal information cards close to my chest, I strongly recommend reading the articles that inspired me to write this post, visit:

iPhone Tacker – http://petewarden.github.com/iPhoneTracker/#1

Gizmodo – Your iPhone is Secretly tracking everywhere you go

The Guardian – iPhone keeps records of everywhere you go

Yours in spying and secretly tracking things,
Lee

Password security on websites

So internet security these days is pretty important. And to be honest, I think it’s the most important thing in building a website, especially when it comes time to keep and store user’s data.

Here is a great post on how to understand exactly what we do to make sure your information is safe. Albeit a little technical, I think it illustrates what happens in a way anybody can read.

Check out Nettuts tutorial on understanding hash functions and keeping passwords safe.

Yours in Internet security,
Lee