Newspaper reveals how your Apple iPhone spies on you

According to reporter Tom Leonard, technology experts and law enforcement processionals are beginning to realise the potential of the iPhone as far as forensic investigations go.

The Telegraph reporter says that, whilst police have tracked criminals by locating their position via conventional mobile phone towers, iPhones offer a lot more information.

In an interesting report, the London paper quotes Jonathan Zdziarski, an ex-hacker - who now teaches US law enforcement officers on how to retrieve information from mobiles - as saying "there are a lot of security issues in the design of the iPhone that lend themselves to retaining more personal information than any other device."

"These devices organise people's lives and, if you're doing something criminal, something about it is going to go through that phone", he added.

Zdziarski told the paper that "he suspected that security had been neglected on the iPhone as it had been intended as a consumer product rather than a business one like rivals such as the Blackberry."

Examples cited by the former hacker include the iPhone's keyboard logging cache, which was "designed to correct spelling but meant that an expert could retrieve anything typed on the keyboard over the past three to 12 months."

On top of this, each time the iPhone's mapping system is closed down, the handset reportedly takes an electronic image of the mobile's location and - by extracting several hundred images from an iPhone - investigators could track the owner's locations over a given period of time.

And in a further feature that the Telegraph says can also help detectives, "Phone photos include Geotags, so that, if posted online, they indicate precisely where a picture was taken and the serial number of the phone that took it."

Infosecurity notes that police forensics investigators often call on the cellular carriers for location information on mobiles owned by people under serious criminal investigation.

The process the networks use is a base station triangulation, and relies on the fact that cellular handset is accessing up to six base stations at any given time so, by measuring the power output as seen by the base stations, the mobile's location can be extrapolated.

With the iPhone, however, triangulation information can be effectively replaced by the iPhone's data logs, allowing law enforcement officers easy access to an iPhone's location without resorting to a court order against the cellular carriers.

What’s Hot on Infosecurity Magazine?