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iPhone Takes Screenshots of Everything You Do

kdawson posted about 6 years ago | from the watchbird-is-watching-you dept.

Privacy 225

The_AV8R writes "Jonathan Zdziarski showed that every time you press the Home button on your iPhone, a screen capture is taken in order to produce a visual effect. This image is then cached and later deleted. Zdziarski says that there have been cases of law enforcement looking up sex offenders' old data and checking recovered screenshots." This revelation occurred in the midst of a webcast on iPhone forensics, demonstrating how to bypass the iPhone's password security (not trivial, but doable). Video from the talk is not online yet but is promised soon over at O'Reilly.

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Makes you wonder.... (0)

allaunjsilverfox2 (882195) | about 6 years ago | (#24980925)

What happens when your parental unit discovers this (assuming said parental unit understands what this "iphone" thing is) will do with this information? Have you been drinking my beer? No Sir! Really, let me see your phone. Um, *smash* there now you happy! You never loved me!! *dramatic music effects from dying iphone*

Re:Makes you wonder.... (5, Insightful)

ByOhTek (1181381) | about 6 years ago | (#24981473)

it makes me wonder why there is no 'badtitle' tag.

It doesn't take a screenshot of everything you do, just when you hit the home button.

Re:Makes you wonder.... (2, Insightful)

FireStormZ (1315639) | about 6 years ago | (#24981517)

It makes me wonder what parental unit is stupid enough to give their kid an iPhone

Re:Makes you wonder.... (0)

allaunjsilverfox2 (882195) | about 6 years ago | (#24981651)

It makes me wonder what parental unit is stupid enough to give their kid an iPhone

the same kind that scream about video games causing wanton violence.

Re:Makes you wonder.... (2, Funny)

SQLGuru (980662) | about 6 years ago | (#24982459)

If I lived in a house with all of that screaming, I'd probably be violent, too.....

Layne

Re:Makes you wonder.... (1)

orthancstone (665890) | about 6 years ago | (#24982111)

The kind that have more disposable income than brains.

FUD (4, Funny)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | about 6 years ago | (#24980929)

From TFA:

Therefore, forensics experts have used this security flaw to successfully nab criminals who have been accused of rape, murder or drug deals, Zdziarski said.

iPhone: the tool of choice for rapists, murders, and drug dealers!

Joking aside, the article is puzzling and it reeks of FUD: if the iCrooks were bad enough to get the authorities to actively track and sieze their data then they deserve to be caught for being too stoopid to buy disposable phones in cash from 7-11. Even Johnny dormroom pot- dealer knows that!

Malfeasance handbook (4, Insightful)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about 6 years ago | (#24980975)

Item 1:

Smart crooks use dumb (disposable) phones.
Dumb crooks use smart phones.

Re:FUD (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24981031)

This is an old news and yes there are many stupid things that crooks do like taking photos of their drug stash etc.

Re:FUD (1, Insightful)

lysergic.acid (845423) | about 6 years ago | (#24981619)

possessing drugs makes you a crook now?

it may be illegal to own certain drugs, but that doesn't make drug users "crooks" or bad people.

heck, 90% of the population uses drugs recreationally/socially. and stop deluding yourself if you think that alcohol is not a drug. alcohol causes more harm to society in terms of social problems and drunk driving accidents than most illicit drugs ever did.

Re:FUD (4, Funny)

djh101010 (656795) | about 6 years ago | (#24981903)

Sorry, LSD, this is the apple-hating thread, not the rant-about-wasting-jail-space-on-potheads thread.

Re:FUD (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24982151)

DOUCHE

Re:FUD (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24982257)

Alcohol, not to mention tobacco and caffeine.

Re:FUD (0, Offtopic)

BemoanAndMoan (1008829) | about 6 years ago | (#24982409)

Off-topic but yes, possessing drugs does make you a crook, if by crook you mean "person breaking the law". It's pretty academic.

Alcohol (and tobacco, for that matter) may both be easily classified as addictive drugs, but society (i.e. johnny tax-man) deems them legal and acceptable, so they are irrelevant to your point.

You're argument is like saying "I like Vista, which is Windows, and 90% of people run Windows, so I'm just as normal as all of them." Sounds like the very definition of delusion to me.

Yes, maybe take some time off? (2, Insightful)

QZTR (1351145) | about 6 years ago | (#24982439)

It really is no surprise that someone with the screename "lysergic acid" takes issue with being a crook because of illegal drug possession, but how the fuck did this get modded up?

YES possessing illegal drugs makes one a crook. Deal with it, because it's reality. I really don't see how an intelligent person could openly wonder how doing the very thing that makes one a crook could cause one to be called a crook.

Now, you can argue over whether you should be a crook, but that's not what was done here.

Second, save the vacuous "alcohol" argument. I'll wager anything you want that in a random survey, the majority of respondents will indeed say alcohol is a drug, so I don't know who you think is deluding themselves besides you.

Next, why are you even bringing up alcohol? If you want to decriminalize drugs, then make the case. Aim for what you want, and save the attempts at drawing equivalence. Saying "a drug that is easily and readily available does more damamge than drugs that are much more rare and difficult to obtain" isn't much of a point outside of a smoke filled dorm room.

Re:Yes, maybe take some time off? (1, Insightful)

xonar (1069832) | about 6 years ago | (#24982631)

Saying "a drug that is easily and readily available does more damamge than drugs that are much more rare and difficult to obtain" isn't much of a point outside of a smoke filled dorm room.

It is very trivial to find someone dealing cannabis, and in finding such people, you're likely to find people who sell harder drugs. This is why people consider cannabis to be a gateway drug, because the people you get it off of are likely to be involved in harder, more "exciting" drugs, thus influencing people to try them. It's rather easy to find anything, as long as you know where to look. (Try the local pizza place, I guarantee at least 50% of them smoke cannabis)

Re:FUD (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24981277)

well if Johnny Dormroom watched the first season of Weeds he does anyway

Re:FUD (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24981337)

I think the upshot here is not that evil should go unpunished, but that "failing to rat out on you" is a feature which the iPhone may lack.

Personally, good or evil, I would prefer to own devices that do not spy on me.

Re:FUD (1)

zappepcs (820751) | about 6 years ago | (#24981513)

"failing to rat out on you" is actually a damned good feature that consumer electronics should all have... FTROOY ? Failing To Rat You Out ? Either one is better then WYSIWYG.

I think that gadget pundits should be including this feature in their reviews and comparisons. ZDNET? Are you listening? That should put F/OSS (and hardware) closer to the top of the class listing.

We might even call it a 5th Ammendment feature? I think I like that even better. Kind of makes it sound official and like it's a iGoodThing!(TM)

Here is to seeing 5A compliance features listed on the back of the packaging?

Re:FUD (1)

EMeta (860558) | about 6 years ago | (#24982215)

I have to disagree with you there. FTrooy may be a nice feature, but it's only that: a feature. This means it need to be balanced against other features. If my phone lists who I've called in the last few weeks and this allows me to find their number easily again, I'd rather have that then my privacy secured from someone else picking up there phone.

Re:FUD (4, Funny)

wild_quinine (998562) | about 6 years ago | (#24981377)

Joking aside, the article is puzzling and it reeks of FUD:

Apple FUD on slashdot? Maybe the LHC is gearing up for armageddon after all.

Re:FUD (2, Insightful)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | about 6 years ago | (#24982147)

Apple FUD on slashdot? Maybe the LHC is gearing up for armageddon after all.

Are you kidding? Ever since that line of people mysteriously turned up at an Apple Store, iPhone stories have become hate-fests on Slashdot. I'm not kidding. Somebody says they like the iPhone's web-browser and they're a 'fanboy'. But if somebody says the iPhone is 'useless', they're objective and rational.

It has gotten rather obnoxious lately.

Re:FUD (1)

Otter (3800) | about 6 years ago | (#24981505)

I'm skeptical that real crimes, particularly murders, have been solved that way, with evidence presented in court, and it's never made the news.

Re:FUD (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24981725)

Sorry, but what is TFA I keep seeing here?

Re:FUD (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24982311)

the "fine" article...

Re:FUD (3, Informative)

Nathrael (1251426) | about 6 years ago | (#24982387)

TFA = The f**king article. Comes from "RTFM"; usually, if someone tells you to RTFA, he means that you should read the Slashdot article as well as the off-site articles mentioned in it before posting something that is self-explanatory if you RTFA.

Re:FUD (2, Insightful)

Colonel Korn (1258968) | about 6 years ago | (#24981747)

From TFA:

Therefore, forensics experts have used this security flaw to successfully

nab criminals who have been accused of rape, murder or drug deals, Zdziarski said.

iPhone: the tool of choice for rapists, murders, and drug dealers!

Joking aside, the article is puzzling and it reeks of FUD: if the iCrooks were bad enough to

get the authorities to actively track and sieze their data then they deserve to be caught

for being too stoopid to buy disposable phones in cash from 7-11. Even Johnny dormroom pot-

dealer knows that!

FUD doesn't mean what you think it means.

A Special Invitation From John McCain (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24980997)

My friends, join me on theStraight Slime Express [exiledonline.com] .

PatRIOTically,
John McCain

It's nice to know (0, Flamebait)

Coraon (1080675) | about 6 years ago | (#24981003)

Big Brother....err big Apple is watching...

Re:It's nice to know (5, Interesting)

mmkkbb (816035) | about 6 years ago | (#24981077)

Errr, it's not phoning these screenshots home. You must have a problem with .bash_history too, right? Caching your keystrokes! OMG!

Re:It's nice to know (3, Interesting)

Hyppy (74366) | about 6 years ago | (#24981365)

It's trivial to disable logging to .bash_history. What about for this?

Re:It's nice to know (2, Insightful)

Em Ellel (523581) | about 6 years ago | (#24981415)

Errr, it's not phoning these screenshots home. You must have a problem with .bash_history too, right? Caching your keystrokes! OMG!

In all fairness, if his account password "alpine" is posted all over the internet, looking into his .bash_history IS a pretty damn good way of spying on him. (Granted, there are bigger issues in this scenario.)

-Em

Re:It's nice to know (4, Insightful)

Firehed (942385) | about 6 years ago | (#24981615)

Sure, if you overwrite your firmware (jailbreak), enable SSH access to the phone, and then NOT change your root password. Quite frankly, you deserve it at that point.

Sounds like yet another sensationalist (and completely inaccurate) headline pointing to a non-story. Unless some pervert is hits the home button while trying to take a (crappy, borderline-useless unless it's being done in full daylight) picture of himself raping a kid, AND law enforcement not only knows to look for this cached file, I don't really see this being an issue. I suppose it could possibly be used as supplemental evidence when a case is being built up, but the actual AIM chat logs, sent emails, phone call history (all of which are far more accessible) and such would be far more potentially incriminating.

Re:It's nice to know (1)

Em Ellel (523581) | about 6 years ago | (#24981851)

Sounds like yet another sensationalist (and completely inaccurate) headline pointing to a
non-story. Unless some pervert is hits the home button while trying to take a (crappy, borderline-useless unless it's being done in full daylight) picture of himself raping a kid, AND law enforcement not only knows to look for this cached file, I don't really see this being an issue. I suppose it could possibly be used as supplemental evidence when a case is being built up, but the actual AIM chat logs, sent emails, phone call history (all of which are far more accessible) and such would be far more potentially incriminating.

While sensationalist and somewhat misleading, it is not entirely inaccurate. Truth is that while it is not a screenshot of everything, there are some things that anyone with physical access to your iPhone MAY be able to recover.

As a not so far-fetched example, if you happend to hit Home while viewing your encrypted data in an encrypted password/data storage app (like 1passwd), your encrypted data - which may be passwords to other locations - is now stored unencrypted on your hard drive without your knowledge and thus may be recovered.

Not a non-story.

-Em

Re:It's nice to know (0, Troll)

Hijacked Public (999535) | about 6 years ago | (#24982401)

there are some things that anyone with physical access to your iPhone MAY be able to recover.

You'll no doubt be shocked to learn that even though you might empty your Recycle Bin there are some thing that anyone with physical access to your computer MAY be able to recover.

(the word may is in all caps for the imbeciles reading, and because some of us are unable to detect when we are being patronizing)

Re:It's nice to know (5, Funny)

Subliminalbits (998434) | about 6 years ago | (#24981421)

Don't forget the page file. The horror; your computer is constantly taking screen shots of your applications ram and storing them on the hard drive!

Re:It's nice to know (1)

plambert (16507) | about 6 years ago | (#24982253)

The iPhone doesn't have a page file. It doesn't swap anything to disk.

Re:It's nice to know (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24981497)

I know about .bash_history, what it does and how to get rid of it. I did not know about those screen caps nor how to get rid of them.

The difference is how informed you are and can possibly get by publicly accessible documentation, thus being enabled to take measures if need arises.

Re:It's nice to know (2, Funny)

Vornzog (409419) | about 6 years ago | (#24981659)

You must have a problem with .bash_history too, right? Caching your keystrokes! OMG!

I don't much like .bash_history, so I usually do this:

$ rm .bash_history
$ ln -s /dev/null .bash_history

Can I do something similar with the iPhone? Better not to have to think about it, even if it isn't incriminating.

Benjamin Franklin was talking about exactly this when he said:

"They who can give up essential privacy to obtain a little temporary eye-candy, deserve neither privacy nor eye-candy."

That man was way ahead of his time.

Re:It's nice to know (1)

j_166 (1178463) | about 6 years ago | (#24982581)

""They who can give up essential privacy to obtain a little temporary eye-candy, deserve neither privacy nor eye-candy.""

That was beautiful, man.

Re:It's nice to know (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24982349)

actually I did have problems with my bash history in the path... I wrote something and my porn showed up.. very embarrising.

Just out of curiosity... (4, Funny)

AndyG314 (760442) | about 6 years ago | (#24981073)

What type of incriminating things are sex ofenders doing with their iPhones.

Re:Just out of curiosity... (5, Funny)

Fx.Dr (915071) | about 6 years ago | (#24981387)

I believe it has something to do with multi-touch.

Re:Just out of curiosity... (2, Funny)

omnipresentbob (858376) | about 6 years ago | (#24982467)

Particularly with new hardware...

I'm with Dateline NBC (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24982521)

"Would you please have an iSeat..."

Re:Just out of curiosity... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24981509)

> What type of incriminating things are sex ofenders doing with their iPhones.

Yeah, I think they'd prefer the iPod badTouch.

Anybody know if he was hacking 2.1? (2, Interesting)

wisebabo (638845) | about 6 years ago | (#24981079)

Sorry to diverge from the screenshot topic but does anyone know if Mr. Zdziarski will demonstrating how to hack the just released 2.1 firmware? Or is a previous version that (may have) been patched? This seems much more significant than being able to see (via a screenshot) what the last user action was.

As for the screenshot, hmm... well at least it doesn't seem to be a deliberate attempt by Apple to get more info on the user. Also, it seems pretty difficult to get these screenshots (since they are automatically deleted according to the article you have to find and undelete them). Doesn't sound like a trivial or reliable way to snoop on people. Still I guess a security flaw is a flaw so be aware!

Re:Anybody know if he was hacking 2.1? (0, Redundant)

TheLostSamurai (1051736) | about 6 years ago | (#24982025)

These screen shots are for debugging plain and simple. All of the software I write which has a user interface has the ability to save screenshots at any point during execution so that I figure out what a user was doing that caused the program to crash. It saves about 100 screenshots and the starts erasing older ones as space gets filled.

I'm not sure how Apple uses these shots, if they do at all, but the ability to take screenshots is an invaluable tool for software debugging.

Re:Anybody know if he was hacking 2.1? (1)

shawnce (146129) | about 6 years ago | (#24982643)

No I am pretty sure it is used during the visual effect of switching in and out of an application, for example when having to deal with a phone call while in another application or hitting the home button. It is just a temporary cache used to optimize that effect without having to involve the applications rendering at the time they are doing the affect.

Pragmatic (4, Funny)

mfh (56) | about 6 years ago | (#24981089)

It's pragmatic to not press the home button when doing home invasions or killing people, I guess.

Re:Pragmatic (1)

mcgrew (92797) | about 6 years ago | (#24981305)

Methinks the submitter/editor is confusing "screenshot" with "taking a photo". What would the screenshot of a web page have to do with a rape or murder? The only crime I can see this having any effect at all on is child porn.

In Illinois it's a felony to record someone without their permission, if it comes to light that these phones are surreptuously recording people (and with the screenshot news, that's not such a stretch), I wonder if it would be Apple or the unknowing iPhone owner who got stuck in Menard?

Re:Pragmatic (1)

Firehed (942385) | about 6 years ago | (#24981703)

Do we really have to get into this whole cache=copying=recording debate, though? It's a reasonably simple thing to have any cache clearing functions do so securely, and unlike with magnetic platters there's no need to worry about paranoid 35-pass overwrites with the flash memory in the iPhone and every other handheld on the planet.

I'd say that "recording" is REALLY pushing the limit of what one could call caching, especially as they're not sent anywhere. I'm much more a felon in Illinois for putting Google Analytics on my blog while neglecting to put a giant banner across the top of the page than my iPhone would be for temporarily caching a screenshot of something.

Re:Pragmatic (1)

ChibiOne (716763) | about 6 years ago | (#24982575)

What would the screenshot of a web page have to do with a rape or murder

Suppose the criminal is e-mailing or messaging someone. Some incriminating words are on the message. Now suppose he presses Home to switch to other application. The device would make a screen capture of the incriminating message, and store it for seconds to create the shrinking effect. Forensics are then used on the phone's storage to recover this deleted screenshot. Evidence has just been produced.

No photo taking was needed.

Re:Pragmatic (3, Informative)

Em Ellel (523581) | about 6 years ago | (#24981313)

It's pragmatic to not press the home button when doing home invasions or killing people, I guess.

Although you are probably technically right, unless you are killing them with a scathing email, or nasty AC troll post - it is not likely that the home button will matter. It captures the screenshot of what is on your screen - not from the camera. (unless you happend to have the camera app on at the moment of course)

-Em

Re:Pragmatic (1)

BenSchuarmer (922752) | about 6 years ago | (#24981455)

If they were pragmatic, they probably wouldn't have bought an iPhone.

that doesn't bode well for faggots. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24981119)

there is lot of gay pr0n among the apple fags. movies of them sucking dicks and taking it up the ass in the public restrooms. fucking homosexuals will hopefully get the smackdown by the law.

simple fix for Apple (3, Insightful)

RJBeery (956252) | about 6 years ago | (#24981143)

Give the concerned users an option of turning off the "shrinking screenshot" animation that occurs when the Home button is pressed (which is why the screenshot is cached in the first place).

Yeah, right. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24981167)

Why bother with such a useless thing? It's never saved to Flash; it's created in RAM. Law enforcement must be damn good if they can recover such an image from RAM, so damn good they must be making shit up.

Re:Yeah, right. (2, Interesting)

D'Sphitz (699604) | about 6 years ago | (#24981315)

Well, apparently, from TFA it is cached on disk (flash, whatever). That's my question, hy not just create it directly into RAM and release it after the effect? What purpose is there to saving the screenshot beyond the second or so it takes to show the animation?

Re:Yeah, right. (1)

lukas84 (912874) | about 6 years ago | (#24981373)

Never attribute to malice what can be explained with stupidity.

Re:Yeah, right. (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 6 years ago | (#24981575)

It is a convenient way to ensure that space is always available on the flash.

Re:Yeah, right. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24982241)

Given that TFA says "The phone presumably deletes the image after you close the application", I'm guessing he hasn't even checked if it saves a screenshot to flash. Besides, given that the whole point of Core Image is to do transforms like this, and Core Image works in RAM, I'd be amazed if it actually stored to flash. Just more of Zdziarski hawking his book, nothing to see here.

Re:Yeah, right. (1)

Em Ellel (523581) | about 6 years ago | (#24981611)

Why bother with such a useless thing? It's never saved to Flash; it's created in RAM. Law enforcement must be damn good if they can recover such an image from RAM, so damn good they must be making shit up.

TFA says you are wrong. Maybe you should read it.

-Em

What's the problem (5, Interesting)

KasperMeerts (1305097) | about 6 years ago | (#24981161)

So it takes a screenshot for some effect? Is there even a way to do this without taking a screenshot? A way that is easy enough to be performed on a smartphone?

And what did you expect from Apple? That every bit of data that was discarded is overwritten ten times? Jeez, I enjoy bashing big companies as much as the other guy but now they're looking too far. Remember, it also saves your web history, every picture you took, every file you opened everything you did somewhere...

Re:What's the problem (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24981539)

Those files are hidden away. This image should live in /tmp/, it doesn't. Apple decided you'd like it to appear in your photos list, which is clearly ridiculous. It does it on the ipod touch too.

2.1 is a mess, apple's forums are full of bugs already, stupidly obvious ones that are found as soon as you use an updated device. Some seem to be problems with what itunes is doing to your files, others are bugs on the device itself. Clearly they didn't do enough testing, and the beta testers should be fired from the testing program.

Re:What's the problem (1, Insightful)

zullnero (833754) | about 6 years ago | (#24981929)

This logic is just so rad. It's like saying "My firewall already has 20 ports open, what's so bad about having another few seemingly insignificant ports open for no reason at all?"

The reason it's bad is because it's another way for someone to harvest personal information off your phone for apparently no real reason at all. It's crap like this that makes me feel just fine having my little fugly Palm Centro. I don't have to have yet another security hole because Apple felt taking a screenshot would make for a cool bit of eye-candy.

People know how to clear their browser cache and those who care clear it regularly. Pictures you took are going to be saved, because you intended to take them and you probably intend to save them too, along with your files. But taking a snapshot for no real good reason at all and not telling your customers about it sucks. That's why it's a problem.

Well, at least it's not like what some Apple fanboys do...when something is found wrong with an Apple product, they immediately compare it with a Microsoft product and say "it's still better". That's basically like saying "At least it's not complete crap."

Re:What's the problem (3, Insightful)

fermion (181285) | about 6 years ago | (#24981933)

Sometimes it is just interesting to think about security, and security choices that are made. Certainly the security incompetence of most manufactures does not reach the level of homeland security, but neither does the security issues. It still is interesting to think about. For instance, the iPhone shows one letter of the password for usability, and this is likely worth the security compromise. Many web browser automatically cache a large number of previous web pages, and a large amount of history, so any minimally competent sleuth can determine everything you have done for the past week. This has security implications, yet when Firefox implemented the very reasonable privacy feature, they get ridiculed with installing a porn filter. In fact such history and cache can be argued to be a unnecessary security risk that should not be turned on by default, but the compromise has been made.

In this case, a potential security issue has been introduced for the purpose of look and feel. While the headline is sensational and seems to be written by a person with no technical background or understanding fo the iPhone, the point remains. Pictures of what you are doing prior to pressing the home button are taken, and stored for some indeterminate amount of time. This is like the browser issue, likely not a big problem. OTOH, there does not seem to be an option under the general/home button menu to turn off this effect, so there is no way for persons worried about the issue to turn it off. It is an interesting problem.

Re:What's the problem (1)

noidentity (188756) | about 6 years ago | (#24982313)

Obviously, they should have regenerated it when needed. Oh wait, that'd make the home button or whatever respond sluggishly while it rendered it on-the-fly. OK, they should have stored the screenshot in RAM. No, wait, that would have wasted memory and gotten them rightly criticized. OK, they should have written it to the same file over and over. No, wait, that would have stressed the flash memory (not to mention not be possible anyway, since wear-leveling doesn't care why you're writing new data; it'll move it around regardless).

"Screenshot" (1)

Slur (61510) | about 6 years ago | (#24982691)

The only distinction between a "screenshot" and "buffering an image" is that in the case of a "screenshot" a file is produced on disk. In this case it's probably a .png file. Since the iPhone has plenty of resources to cache the image in RAM, it does seem weird that the image needs to be written to disk. The code that transitions to the Main Menu could be architected in many ways:

1. The code is in the Main Menu itself. It takes a screenshot as soon as it starts up, draws its own display in an offscreen buffer, and does a simple transition between the two images using the high-level animation methods.

2. A separate process takes the snapshot for the benefit of the Main Menu process, which then draws its own display in an offscreen buffer and does a simple transition between the two images using the high-level animation methods.

3. The Main Menu takes screen snapshots both before it exits and just as it starts up, and simply uses these two static images to accomplish the animation effect. This would be the simplest implementation.

4. The application launcher handles all the transitions, intercepting the first draw of the application interface within the application runtime, or as part of AppKit's implementation of mainNibDidLoad. The Main Menu process is the parent of all application processes. Animation between apps might be handled by an independent process or thread.

Perhaps some iPhone developer can shed light on which of these is most likely. The existence of a screenshot file only implies that data needs to be shared between processes, and that simple high-level API's are being used.

Applying my Slashdot headline filter, my sense of the original article - which I haven't read - is that, if you're looking to secure and encrypt everything on your phone (for safety!) this is one more thing you should remember to securely delete.

In terms of taking the customer's desires seriously, the main questions all this raises with me are: How soon can we get fully encrypted iPhones? And: can we get them without an NSA back-door? Or better yet: can we get an open source encryption plugin framework, and roll our own?

The companies who provide phones and data networks are only just beginning to get a working system together. They're just happy it works at all most of the time. Encrypting everything is going to require a lot more computational power throughout, which no one wants to sacrifice because it hurts performance. In order to get everything encrypted, companies would need to fight all the special interests that see advantage in removing the private citizen's expectation of privacy. They don't have any compelling interest in taking on that fight.

I would argue that there's a constitutional basis for demanding that universal encryption be a goal of all communication devices, and that it be considered in every new protocol. It should be as difficult as possible to install electronic eavesdropping, whether for your neighbor or for the FBI. That would be an exemplary bit of American justice, gaining us all more liberty, privacy, and security.

And this just in! (5, Funny)

Artraze (600366) | about 6 years ago | (#24981291)

It turns out that you browser will store all the information needed to recreate the web pages you visit! Not just a screenshot! This critical flaw appears to have present for years in all known browsers! The end is near!

Seriously? Come on. I know ./ likes to post anything related to the iPhone, especially if it involves "spying", but this is pretty uninteresting. Security is traded for speed and features on a daily basis, including places where do so presents a major risk (*cough*Outlook). This is really not too surprising since it trades at most a little privacy in exchange for a neat effect; what would you expect Apple's iCandy to do?

Re:And this just in! (5, Funny)

venicebeach (702856) | about 6 years ago | (#24981417)

It's even worse than that, the iPhone keeps copies of all your emails, and records phone numbers you have called as well as keeping a database of all your personal contacts!!! The thing is a 5 ounce privacy invasion machine!

don't forget the "calendar" (0, Redundant)

commodoresloat (172735) | about 6 years ago | (#24982299)

The iPhone has a really invasive program that actually keeps track of all your appointments, dates, meetings; pretty much everything you do every day of your life. I can't believe Apple is getting away with this surveillance!!

Re:And this just in! (1)

Underfoot (1344699) | about 6 years ago | (#24981503)

Mod Parent up!

That was my first response too. Doesn't every browser do this? Even those that do not keep a history keep a cache while the browser is open.

Re:And this just in! (1)

Roberticus (1237374) | about 6 years ago | (#24982303)

This reminds me of a horrible device I once received as a gift. I eventually realized that a button on the device, when pressed, was triggering some hidden process that was recording my location, often along with a timestamp. God knows where it was sending that info.

That was the last time I used one of those "Digital Cameras".

Re:And this just in! (1)

j_166 (1178463) | about 6 years ago | (#24982677)

I actually have my iphone configured so that when I press the home button, it kills a random stranger somewhere, that I will never know.

fud (3, Insightful)

sam_paris (919837) | about 6 years ago | (#24981375)

Tag this article as fud, because that's what it is. Any excuse to bash apple and/or iphone.. Really, if we're going to get upset about this, let's get upset about browser caching, cookies, history.. etc etc

Re:fud (1)

Jackie_Chan_Fan (730745) | about 6 years ago | (#24981573)

We've had plenty of real reasons to bash the iphone. Look up Apple logo of death on google :) The entire iphone thing has been a huge buggy disaster.

2.1 just came out... we'll see how well it does but... it better be a fucking miracle.

Re:fud (1)

sam_paris (919837) | about 6 years ago | (#24981617)

I have v1 iphone and i've never had a problem with it, or apple (they've replaced it twice for free for accidental damage on my part).

I've had slight issues after the version 2 software but apparently less than 3g owners. Download 2.1 today and well yes we'll see. There are real problems with phones (3g mainly) but this isn't one of them :)

Ap.ple appl.e app.le appl.e ap.ple app.le (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24981399)

App.le a pple apple app le ap ple a pple App le, app le ap p le a p ple app le apple Appl e, a pple a ppl e app le app le a pple adsfa sdfdsa fja slfs aldf ajskldflk as jldkfaslkjdfj laksdfjlajsldfajlsdflsajsdfasd fadsf asd fas.
sdaasdfsadf sdf asd fsdad fsa df asdf saf sa fsa fd sd fdsa dsfa ds fadsdffsda. adsfsdas sa fsda fsad fsdafdasfoig dsf gdsj iodf gosd fod gosfdg soideri aso ads nflzx dfdzxdf zd.

Only the guilty have something to hide! (1, Funny)

TibbonZero (571809) | about 6 years ago | (#24981433)

Think of the children!

Someone Was thinking Of the Children (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24981803)

Thats what got the cops looking at the Pervs Iphones to begin with

Re:Only the guilty have something to hide! (1)

Dunbal (464142) | about 6 years ago | (#24982659)

The predator obviously WAS thinking of the children....

oops?

WTF? (0, Flamebait)

No2Gates (239823) | about 6 years ago | (#24981463)

This is the dumbest load of crap I have ever heard. Who posted this, someone from RIM?

God knows everything, now the god phone does too?

Steve Jobs is watching you masturbate (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24981537)

Attention Girliemen: Buy a proper phone next time.

Unclear whether this is recoverable... (1)

nweaver (113078) | about 6 years ago | (#24981555)

The iPhone takes a screenshot, but they never said in the FA whether its actually written to flash or not!

Given the limited write cycles of Flash, I would hope that Apple just keeps it in RAM.

Sure it's recoverable (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24982417)

It doesn't matter if it's RAM or flash. When you get arrested/detained, you probably don't get the chance to turn off your personal electronics.

The other day the local news did a piece on the cell phone forensics guy at a local police dept. They use commercial software to extract a copy of everything they can find and store it as possible evidence. The software is smart enough to recover deleted files in some instances, as well as the usual contacts/call records/etc.

Obviously if this screenshot was considered interesting for forensics, it would be pretty trivial to write an iPhone-specific version to grab this while you're sitting in cuffs.

The only real question is whether a warrant should be required or not. According to the forensics guy on the local news, it currently isn't *required*. I think it should be.

Even the Author Doesn't Think It's News (5, Informative)

Nuclear Elephant (700938) | about 6 years ago | (#24981637)

I _am_ Jonathan Zdziarski and even I don't understand why this is news.

This was a side note I mentioned the other day, and has been something I've been grousing about for over a year. It's unnecessary, and a bit of a privacy leak that can be exploited by forensic examiners, but hardly news for the reasons already stated in the comments.

Re:Even the Author Doesn't Think It's News (4, Funny)

Rob T Firefly (844560) | about 6 years ago | (#24982051)

I _am_ Jonathan Zdziarski

No, I'm Jonathan Zdziarski!

Re:Even the Author Doesn't Think It's News (1)

Dunbal (464142) | about 6 years ago | (#24982625)

In Soviet Russia, Jonathan Zdiarski's you!

Re:Even the Author Doesn't Think It's News (4, Funny)

Inda (580031) | about 6 years ago | (#24982059)

No, I am Jonathan Zdziarski.

Re:Even the Author Doesn't Think It's News (5, Informative)

Nuclear Elephant (700938) | about 6 years ago | (#24982095)

To add one more comment to this, though, it's been inaccurately reported that this process takes an hour to complete. Well, the passcode breaking piece of the demonstration technically takes maybe 15-20 minutes for a trained pro to prepare, but once you've prepared the custom firmware payload, you can re-use it over and over again on different iPhones. The actual payload installation takes only 60 seconds, so someone who came along prepared would be able to break your passcode in 60 seconds - not an hour. With that said though, you still need to transmit the raw disk image to a desktop machine to access this data. That transfer can easily take 2-3 hours. This means that you're not going to have your personal data hijacked by simply placing the phone down for a moment, but if it were stolen or seized, it's most certainly easy to recover.

Re:Even the Author Doesn't Think It's News (3, Funny)

fo0bar (261207) | about 6 years ago | (#24982211)

I _am_ Jonathan Zdziarski and even I don't understand why this is news.

Welcome to Slashdot. Here's your oversized novelty foam finger.

Advertising Opportunity? (1)

kitsunewarlock (971818) | about 6 years ago | (#24981877)

Imagine using an iPhone for phone sex? I see it now:
iPhone: it watches you masturbate.

I've seen this... (3, Interesting)

zosa (261289) | about 6 years ago | (#24981927)

I had a glitch occur that put one of these screen shots in my photos collection. I was wondering what kind of glitch would have generated a screenshot. Now that is partially explained.

Easy fix... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24981975)

Black tape.

Re:Easy fix... (1)

meldex (1255142) | about 6 years ago | (#24982137)

Where exactly do I put the black tape to block a screen shot????

No problem (1)

alias420 (873143) | about 6 years ago | (#24982157)

I have no problem with Apple doing this to make a cool effect. I wonder if it will be the same in iPhone 2.1 [iphone-hacks.com]

So ... what is the problem ? (1)

Phiu-x (513322) | about 6 years ago | (#24982225)

How this is different than your Firefox cache (which is worst, privacy wise IMO) or *gasp* any other graphical GUI effect ?| Slow news day ? And BTW, any IT forensic who has access to the machine can do whatever the fsck he/she want. Are we gonna encrypt the graphical effect's screenshots now ? WTF people, Wake up!


Let Apple be for a minute ... There is a new Metallica album day, you guys should talk about that. Geeks love Metal too ya know!

iKnowWhatYouDidPhone (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24982547)

Turns out iPhone is really iKnowWhatYouDidPhone!

Tape (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24982669)

I am a privacy nut. (Please notice I post anonymous coward.) I have friends who have Apple products. I cannot understand why they haven't put tape over the cameras. Or why they don't come with lens caps.

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