Rogue iPhone Apps Could Jeopardize User Privacy, Expert Says

Lora Bentley

Be careful of the apps you download for your iPhone, security expert Nicolas Seriot warns users. A flaw in the iPhone's design, along with rather lax App Store security, could make iPhone users vulnerable to privacy violations, according to CNET News.


iPhone Apps, he says, have "unfettered access" to a wealth of information about the user once they are downloaded to an iPhone. That information can include the phone number, address book data, and a notes section of the address book, Seriot told CNET. Of more concern, most, if not all, of that info "is readable without the user's knowledge or consent."


Seriot, a software engineer at the Swiss University of Applied Sciences, has written a white paper on his findings, which he is slated to present at Black Hat DC Wednesday. He has also created a proof-of-concept "spyphone" with which he can track iPhone users' activities, locations and interests, he says.


So aside from avoiding apps altogether -- which iPhone users obviously won't do or they wouldn't be iPhone users -- what should they do to protect their info from hackers? He suggests two things:

  • Clean your browser history and keyboard cache regularly.
  • Delete or change the "declared" number for the phone.


In addition, for professional iPhone users, Seriot says:

  • Be wary of "untrusted apps."
  • Make legal representatives aware that data already may have been leaked.


In other words, the iPhone may be one of the most popular devices around, but that doesn't make it the most secure.

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