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Hacker Teaches iPhone Forensics To Police

samzenpus posted more than 3 years ago | from the strange-bedfellows dept.

Crime 193

Ponca City, We love you writes "The Mercury News reports that former hacker Jonathan Zdziarski has been tapped by law-enforcement agencies nationwide to teach them just how much information is stored in iPhones — and how to get it. 'These devices are people's companions today,' says Zdziarski. 'They're not mobile phones anymore. They organize people's lives. And if you're doing something criminal, something about it is probably going to go through that phone.' For example, every time an iPhone user closes out of the built-in mapping application, the phone snaps a screenshot and stores it. Savvy law-enforcement agents armed with search warrants can use those snapshots to see if a suspect is lying about whereabouts during a crime."

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iPhone secret screenshots? (1)

cloricus (691063) | more than 3 years ago | (#33550314)

"For example, every time an iPhone user closes out of the built-in mapping application, the phone snaps a screenshot and stores it." - TFS What?

Re:iPhone secret screenshots? (4, Funny)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 3 years ago | (#33550318)

Haw. If you're gonna rob a bank or burglarize a home, why not do it in style?

Envision a crook trying to scream at the clerk to empty out the register while pausing to say, "Hold up, I gotta take this call..." Or instructing his getaway driver, "Turn left here....um, right here...oh, Mike just broke up with Jen...turn left here, exit 95..."

Compartmentalize, crooks. Compartmentalize.

VLAGGOT SIGHTING (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33550384)

Vlad farted [slashdot.org]

Need advice (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33550438)

Okay I know it sounds gross.. but hear me out first..im 15 btw.

so my teacher let me sit at her desk cause she's cool like that and i raised my hand first. im on my period (sry TMI i know) and i have a heavy flow. i could feel the blood coming out and i didnt get a chance to change my tampon that day. so i pretended to drop my pencil and i went under the desk and i slipped on a tampon from my purse. i believe in female rights and i support breast feeding in public, etc.. so i dont see a problem with this, as long as no one else sees anything. but as i was taking out the used tampon the guy that i kinda like (who im also friends with) came over to get a sheet of looseleaf and he saw everything. i mean i shaved and everything but he saw blood running down my leg and it smelled fishy. and he told EVERYONE and he wont talk to me and people are saying that im grimy, a whore, unclassy, white trash, etc. and i dont know what to do, advice?

Re:Need advice (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33550474)

Sometimes ya just gotta do what ya gotta do!
 
Go here [aclu.org] and file a complaint. This is well-known as cross-discrimination and though what you did was rather gross, you in NO WAY should be punished for it. If your really lucky you should be able to sue and get a little money out of it! But if you do be sure to save it for college because college is around the corner and is getting really expensive hun!

Re:Need advice (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33550682)

What the fuck are you talking about?!? You can't sue someone for not liking you. God damn, it's people like you that are destroying our country.

For fuck's sake, call the ACLU? File a complaint? My advice: just tell people he has a small dick. It's high school, that'll devastate him.

Re:Need advice (1)

cheekyjohnson (1873388) | more than 3 years ago | (#33551094)

Technically, meager insults anger just about anyone of any age. You'd be surprised (or maybe not) at how upset people get over mere words.

Re:Need advice (1)

Aeternitas827 (1256210) | more than 3 years ago | (#33551246)

Like, this whole AC bit has one or possibly more people that are a few fries short of a happy meal? That isn't/aren't the sharpest block(s) of cheese? A die short of a game of Yahtzee? A bun short of a Big Mac?

I could go on, but really...I don't want carpal tunnel by 25.

Re:Need advice (-1, Troll)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 3 years ago | (#33550558)

You're gonna grow up to be one of those skanks who reaches up her skirt to slather deodorant between your legs before you rub it on your underarms and hit the clubs, to be laid later by a dirty Mexican or perhaps a Guatamalan.

That is what we computer science geeks call the "bottom-up" approach.

Re:iPhone secret screenshots? (2, Funny)

w0mprat (1317953) | more than 3 years ago | (#33551550)

Crook: "Hold up, I gotta take this call..." *answers*... "Hello? I can't hear you you're breaking up. HELLO?"

Clerk: "You're not holding it right.. here let me show you"

Re:iPhone secret screenshots? (4, Insightful)

auntieNeo (1605623) | more than 3 years ago | (#33550354)

"For example, every time an iPhone user closes out of the built-in mapping application, the phone snaps a screenshot and stores it." - TFS What?

I'm guessing it does that because when it opens it wants to look just as spiffy as it looked when the user closed it, and it can't do that if it has to re-render the map from scratch.

Re:iPhone secret screenshots? (1)

icebike (68054) | more than 3 years ago | (#33550686)

Exactly. It has only ONE image, the last one.
Not a history of images. Open your map tap the Locate icon when at home or any other common place, and problem solved.

Besides, everyone who watches TV knows you use a untraceable "burner" phone, right?

Sun Glasses....
Yeaaaaaaaahhhh!

Re:iPhone secret screenshots? (1)

clone53421 (1310749) | more than 3 years ago | (#33550788)

Exactly. It has only ONE image, the last one.
Not a history of images.

You’re quite sure of that? Even assuming it does purge the old image files when it saves a new one – the old screenshots can’t be undeleted?

Re:iPhone secret screenshots? (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 3 years ago | (#33550830)

[CSI] Restore previous. Zoom. Enhance. [/]

Re:iPhone secret screenshots? (5, Insightful)

BasilBrush (643681) | more than 3 years ago | (#33551388)

You're both right. It only keeps one image - it's called Default.png. Yet it's possible multiple versions could be retrieved if the file's data blocks on the flash disk have not yet been overwritten by another file.

Point is: iPhone is doing nothing nefarious, secretive or underhand, as some here would love to imagine. Yet forensics could discover more than a person might first imagine.

Re:iPhone secret screenshots? (1)

Aeternitas827 (1256210) | more than 3 years ago | (#33551252)

Besides, everyone who watches TV knows you use a untraceable "burner" phone, right?

Street cred. If your phone ain't blang you ain't da realz shizzle for shizzle, dizzle, yo.

Translation: There's a segment of the criminal populace that are more worried about being in-style while doing their thing, than getting away with it. So what if a big guy whose name might be Bubba takes a few liberties in the communal shower? At least I carjacked Joe Schmoe with an iPhone in the pocket that hovers between my knee and calf, depending on when I hitched my pants up last.

Re:iPhone secret screenshots? (2, Interesting)

PNutts (199112) | more than 3 years ago | (#33550528)

This is for the animation of screens opening and closing. This news is about two years old. It doesn't specifically call out the iPhone model so it may not apply to the newer ones with hardware encryption unless the book's been updated since 2008.

Re:iPhone secret screenshots? (1)

bcmm (768152) | more than 3 years ago | (#33551392)

It doesn't specifically call out the iPhone model so it may not apply to the newer ones with hardware encryption unless the book's been updated since 2008.

If the key is stored on the same device as the encrypted data, the encryption is a particularly funny instance of security through obscurity.

The only other options are to have the user memorise a key, which will practically inevitably be far too short, use around some kind of separate authentication device, or having the user memorise a password that is used to retrieve the key from some kind of authentication server (which could make a shorter password safer by limiting attempts). However, my money is on the key being stored on the device.

/me googles it

Heh. [arstechnica.com]

(This reminds me of this photo [syslog.com] , which I found on Bruce Shneier's blog [schneier.com] ).

Re:iPhone secret screenshots? (4, Informative)

Graff (532189) | more than 3 years ago | (#33550536)

"For example, every time an iPhone user closes out of the built-in mapping application, the phone snaps a screenshot and stores it." - TFS What?

It's called caching. When an iPhone application switches to another application it can quickly store an image of the app's current state. When the user switches back it displays that image while the real view is being built. That way the user gets an immediate view of the last state of the app rather than having to wait around for that state to be re-built.

Your desktop computer's web browser (and many other programs and devices) does the same thing, it stores data for quick access and responsiveness. You'd be surprised at just how many devices use this technique, the iPhone is far from the only device to cache data.

It's a smart technique but yeah, if you're committing crimes then too bad for you. I'd suggest that maybe you shouldn't be using ANY electronic device during a crime that you don't completely understand what data it sends and stores and how to deal with it before it becomes evidence.

Re:iPhone secret screenshots? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33550596)

It's not only useful for paused state. It's also handy when you lose your internet connection or drive into a dead zone. The limited cache of the map is handy to see the destination or the portion of wherever you've dropped the pin. And it's somewhat functional since you can zoom in/out and get a quick overview.

It's practical and not one of those OMG PRIVACY deals.

Re:iPhone secret screenshots? (1)

Aeternitas827 (1256210) | more than 3 years ago | (#33551268)

how to deal with it before it becomes evidence.

Detonation or thermite. Pretty easy solution if you must be encumbered by an electronic device.

Personally, I like the Thermite, because it's fun to watch...but not always practical.

Re:iPhone secret screenshots? (1)

MrCrassic (994046) | more than 3 years ago | (#33551350)

Well, the thing to remember is that physical access = game over. Without exploits or clearly open holes (i.e. jailbreakers opening SSH and forgetting to change the root password), it's pretty hard to gain access to an iPhone or Android device by default. Unless the phone is encrypted (very unlikely), most of the juicy bits are very easy to get and extract after physical possession (e.g. one can still browse the flash RAM on an iPhone even if it has a PIN lock, which is one of the reasons why it's not very helpful).

I'm not a security expert, but I think it's much easier to gain access to sensitive information by way of social engineering or dictionary attacks (everyone hates passwords or being too paranoid about stuff).

your own personal lo-jack (3, Informative)

romanval (556418) | more than 3 years ago | (#33550336)

You would think most criminals would know not to carry a cell phone at all, since the cell towers tracks and record their location at every moment.

Question (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33550362)

Say, can I borrow your cell phone tomorrow afternoon? Just for an hour or so.

Re:your own personal lo-jack (2, Insightful)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 3 years ago | (#33550368)

You would think most criminals would know not to carry a cell phone at all, since the cell towers tracks and record their location at every moment.

Criminals still get busted by leaving fingerprints.

Re:your own personal lo-jack (1)

blai (1380673) | more than 3 years ago | (#33550482)

gloves, son.

Re:your own personal lo-jack (1)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 3 years ago | (#33550514)

You'd think... but it still happens. They're not all Lex Luthor.

Re:your own personal lo-jack (1)

shaitand (626655) | more than 3 years ago | (#33550974)

Actually the preferred method is to use crooks who don't have a record and therefore don't have prints on file. If the cops have you to compare the prints you are already busted.

Re:your own personal lo-jack (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33551108)

Not true; there are many ways the police can get your prints without you ever being a criminal. Concealed carry permits require you to submit prints, and so does the Military. In fact, I remember hearing some controversy when I was a kid because the police were collecting students prints from school, under the cover of showing kids how law enforcement works.

Re:your own personal lo-jack (1)

Aeternitas827 (1256210) | more than 3 years ago | (#33551292)

And this is a concern, because the morphology of a print doesn't vary between ages under 10, and those over 10? Unless this was done in High School, the prints would bear resemblance only after modification...as you grow, the prints change, and the proportions aren't even.

I'd love for the police to fingerprint my child(ren) in elementary school and then try and use those prints later on to make a connection. I'd have at least a badge (maybe a couple) and an overzealous prosecutor's law degree hanging on my mantle.

Re:your own personal lo-jack (1)

shaitand (626655) | more than 3 years ago | (#33551418)

Last I checked they don't chloroform you before any of those. It doesn't particularly matter how they got your prints, you know if you've been printed.

Re:your own personal lo-jack (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33550396)

Most criminals, the smart ones anyway, use disposible/prepaid phones. Walk into a 7-11 and you can buy one. The networks have no idea who is using it...of course they know the incoming and outgoing calls.

Re:your own personal lo-jack (1)

Nethead (1563) | more than 3 years ago | (#33550864)

7-11 and all stores have cameras now. It it's that important, they will get an image of you.

Better to buy a hot pre-paid phone off someone and then re-up your minutes at a drive up ATM on a motor cycle with your helmet on.

Re:your own personal lo-jack (1)

shaitand (626655) | more than 3 years ago | (#33550980)

Yes and the cameras all have something in common, they are mounted up high to get maximum coverage. As long as you don't look up, they don't capture your face. ATMs are a different story.

Re:your own personal lo-jack (1)

Nethead (1563) | more than 3 years ago | (#33551016)

Good point. Case the place carefully.

Criminals usually aren't very smart (5, Insightful)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 3 years ago | (#33550402)

Most smart people find other work for two reasons:

1) When you are smart, you have options. Smart is a talent people want, particularly practical smarts of the problem solving nature. So you find that when you have that, you have options of where to work and what to do. Makes crime less attractive.

2) Smart people can better understand the consequences for crime, and the likelihood of getting caught especially on repeated attempts. So even if crime is tempting, they don't do it because they are smart enough to think ahead and realize it isn't worth the risk over all.

Most criminals are just not that bright. A friend of mine has worked with the public defender's office and the stories he has of the stupid criminals they try to defend and just amazing. They get caught and busted by their own stupidity more than anything else. They love to run their mouths to the police, they never plan their crimes, etc, etc. More or less the only time they were able to get someone off the hook was when the police made a mistake. Otherwise, the criminals sunk themselves.

Re:Criminals usually aren't very smart (1, Insightful)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 3 years ago | (#33550444)

The really smart criminals just bribe the cops or even better just bribe the politicians to make what they are doing not illegal.

Re:Criminals usually aren't very smart (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33550518)

The really smart criminals just bribe the cops or even better just bribe the politicians to make what they are doing not illegal.

No, the really smart criminals are all WEARING the suits.

Re:Criminals usually aren't very smart (1)

John Q Dallas (1897006) | more than 3 years ago | (#33550524)

No, those are just smart people, the really smart do both.

Re:Criminals usually aren't very smart (-1, Offtopic)

kainosnous (1753770) | more than 3 years ago | (#33550708)

The really smart criminals are the politicians. Look at the current administration here in the US. They are the ones who took bribes, stole money and pushed their agendas and crashed the system. Then, they blamed it on the one guy who wasn't (at least not completely) in bed with them, and managed to get elected again to do the exact same things. Then, they ask for more money while convincing the people that we have to "do something" because the last administration (i.e. themselves) messed things up so badly. The people with their hands in the housing market crash have been promoted, and one is now the president.

Look at the so-called stimulus bill. The first one suckered us out of our money and made us even worse off than we were, but now the tell us they need to do it again. Their reasoning? "We can't just sit here and do nothing" It's pretty cold and immoral, but it does take some smarts, and they do get rich off of us.

These petty criminals aren't smart. If they were, they would be "Community Organisers" and get a nice salary, excellent benefits, and have a chance at a nice political career. All they have to do is spread some liberal propaganda. If you think I'm making it up, look at Craigslist's "nonprofit sector". They may have be hoaxes, but it's still interesting.

Re:Criminals usually aren't very smart (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33550706)

You said;

When you are smart, you have options. Smart is a talent people want, particularly practical smarts of the problem solving nature.

IQ is not directly related to either income or success, as has been pointed out by research. Malcolm Gladwell pointed this out in his book Outliers,

... he discusses the story of Christopher Langan, a man who ended up working on a horse farm in rural Missouri despite having an IQ of 195 (Einstein's was 150).[2] Gladwell points out that Langan has not reached a high level of success because of the environment he grew up in.

You said;

Most criminals are just not that bright. A friend of mine has worked with the public defender's office and the stories he has of the stupid criminals they try to defend and just amazing.

Are you talking about ALL criminals, or just the ones who get caught?

Re:Criminals usually aren't very smart (1)

JoshuaZ (1134087) | more than 3 years ago | (#33550840)

The poster you are replying to did not say IQ, he said intelligence. But let's for a second assume that he had said IQ. Would your evidence about someone with a 195 IQ be useful? Well, considering that this is an anecdote from a book called "Outliers" and an outlier is an extreme point in a statistical distribution that doesn't match the rest of the data, I'm going to go with that not being very relevant. And in fact there's a correlation between IQ and income. The exact correlation is unclear, with there being some evidence that there's a diminishing marginal return (that is, at low IQs slightly higher IQ adds a lot of income but as IQ gets higher, adding more IQ doesn't increase the chance of a high income by that much). See for example http://pss.sagepub.com/content/15/6/373 [sagepub.com] (that study actually looked primarily at SAT scores but they have a method of estimating a conversion between the two.) See also the work by Jay Zagorsky which found a correlation between IQ and net wealth (Unfortunately, I don't have a citation for that off the top of my head other than secondary sources such as http://researchnews.osu.edu/archive/intlwlth.htm [osu.edu] and I can't find the studies on the OSU website. They used to be at http://www.chrr.osu.edu/surveys [osu.edu] but they don't seem to be linked there anymore. This should be good enough for a Slashdot comment.)

Statistics, motherfucker. Can you do it? (4, Insightful)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 3 years ago | (#33550906)

.. he discusses the story of Christopher Langan, a man who ended up working on a horse farm in rural Missouri despite having an IQ of 195 (Einstein's was 150).[2] Gladwell points out that Langan has not reached a high level of success because of the environment he grew up in.

Do ALL people who work on horse farms have an IQ higher than Einstein's? Or is it just most of them? Or is he just basically a freak case that proves nothing?

I guess you grandfather smoked 80 cigarettes a day since he was 12 and he got run over by a truck one day short of his 120th birthday while training for a marathon.

Re:Criminals usually aren't very smart (2, Insightful)

Scrameustache (459504) | more than 3 years ago | (#33550724)

Most criminals who get caught are just not that bright.

ftfy

Re:Criminals usually aren't very smart (2, Insightful)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 3 years ago | (#33550762)

The problem is that when you do things over and over, you WILL get caught. Everyone fucks up every day, we all make mistakes. What this means is that when you keep committing crimes, the chances you will do something that will give you away approaches certainty. It is just near impossible to keep committing crimes and not get caught.

So sure, I suppose a smart person might commit a single crime and get away with it. However hard to get enough money from a single crime to make it worth doing as the only thing for your life.

Also the bigger the crime, the most heat it draws, the more it is scrutinized and the smaller the fuckup that can lead to you getting caught.

Re:Criminals usually aren't very smart (1)

gagol (583737) | more than 3 years ago | (#33551060)

I met a guy one day, he was on probation for growing pot in his house and was already selling drugs while on probation... not smart.

Re:Criminals usually aren't very smart (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33551228)

Jack the Ripper

Re:Criminals usually aren't very smart (1)

BasilBrush (643681) | more than 3 years ago | (#33551424)

The problem is that when you do things over and over, you WILL get caught. Everyone fucks up every day, we all make mistakes. What this means is that when you keep committing crimes, the chances you will do something that will give you away approaches certainty. It is just near impossible to keep committing crimes and not get caught.

You need to balance that up with the fact that the average policeman isn't that smart either, and is probably overworked. You don't just have to fuck up to be caught. You need to fuck up in a way that the police are looking for, and would recognise. As you say, the size of the crime is critical. Murder of a clean cut middle class white girl is going to be investigated by smart people, and they are going to devote significant time to it. On the other hand, property crime, not involving the threat of violence... I could see someone smart being able to make a living at that without ever getting caught.

Re:Criminals usually aren't very smart (2, Interesting)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 3 years ago | (#33551594)

The more crimes you commit, the more people look for you. Despite your best efforts, you'll leave a signature and this'll get noticed. It may take time, but if you keep committing crimes you'll wind up on bigger and bigger radars, more people, at a higher level, will be looking for you.

Also there's no such thing as no risk crime. So you say ok just stick to property crime. Then it turns out your break in to a house that's wired. A silent alarm goes off, security company sees you on video. Before you know it, there are cops are private security guards outside. Or you break in to a supposedly empty house, but the home owner is home sick. He gets scared and shoots you. Or hell you just break in to a house and happen to wind up getting recorded by a webcam that some guy has set up to watch his cat. All that aside, there's the problem of monetizing what you steal, and then dealing with the money. Money can be tracked, and of course trying to avoid the people who might do the tracking (like the IRS) can also be tracked.

The more often you do it, the more likely. As I said, we all make mistakes. If you make a mistake when committing a crime, it may be your last.

Now if you want to try it, well go right ahead. However You'll get no sympathy out of me when it turns out that you weren't quite as clever as you thought, and some slip up finally was your undoing.

If you don't want to do it, well then that just kinda goes to my point doesn't it?

I think geeks romanticize the notion of a smart criminal because they like to think they could beat the cops. They think they are clever enough that, if they wanted to, they could be a mastermind criminal who never got caught. In response to that I'll point you to Hans Reiser, who was not nearly as clever as he wanted to think he was.

You are right, that your average traffic cop is probably not that intelligent. However that isn't all you face. There ARE plenty of very clever people in law enforcement. What's more, they are clever in the right areas. They know all about how to look for clues, how to spot patterns in behaviour, and how to trip someone up. Their profession is catching criminals and that leads to knowing a lot about it.

You also have the additional risk, that even if you are successful in something where it is difficult for the authorities to get at you, like say the drug lords (though if you follow such things they get arrested more often than you'd think), that is attractive to competition. Being that you are talking criminals, your competition may choose the expedient method of dealing with you by killing you. This happens in the drug trade often.

All in all it turns out to be a lot of risk for rewards that, if you are smart, are usually not that much better than what you can get legally. Hence, not so many smart crooks.

Re:Criminals usually aren't very smart (3, Insightful)

shaitand (626655) | more than 3 years ago | (#33551022)

"Most criminals are just not that bright. A friend of mine has worked with the public defender's office and the stories he has of the stupid criminals they try to defend and just amazing. They get caught and busted by their own stupidity more than anything else."

Most people are not that bright so it stands to reason most crooks aren't either. That said, has it ever occurred to you that your friend and most others in the justice system aren't catching many smart crooks because smart crooks aren't getting caught?

"So you find that when you have that, you have options of where to work and what to do. Makes crime less attractive."

Crime pays better than legit work. That makes crime more attractive. Most smart people choosing legit work today simply haven't found a smart opportunity for crime or don't have the guts. With a big enough payoff, small enough risk, and small enough amount of effort most people would be all over it.

"especially on repeated attempts"

That's a given. But there is no particular reason there needs to be repeated attempts.

Re:Criminals usually aren't very smart (1)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 3 years ago | (#33551238)

of-course the most successful of the criminals are so bright, that they are doing what is not even considered crime, but they turn that into crime, they repeat it billions of times and they take very very little money from each separate crime individually, so that goes right against your proposition :)

I talk about high frequency trading of-course.

Re:Criminals usually aren't very smart (1)

noidentity (188756) | more than 3 years ago | (#33551396)

Sample bias there? The smart criminals don't get caught. And the really smart ones create a public perception of their actions not even being criminal.

Re:Criminals usually aren't very smart (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33551442)

A friend of mine has worked with the public defender's office and the stories he has of the stupid criminals they try to defend and just amazing.

Not to play devil's advocate (no pun intended), but surely that is an example of selection bias? He only ever gets to deal with those criminals that are actually caught (and those that couldn't afford a decent lawyer), and that's naturally going to color his perception of what ALL criminals must be like.

Re:your own personal lo-jack (1)

Antisyzygy (1495469) | more than 3 years ago | (#33551026)

In other news, Some dickhead sells out to law enforcement with knowledge which is actually beknownst to many others. He has no more knowledge than any other person, but he is more willing to sell what he knows for personal gain.

Re:your own personal lo-jack (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33551084)

Using 'burner' phones (paid for with cash) are a viable option, so long as you can afford to smash them on a weekly basis and never use them from your home.

More good resons for not buying a iPhone (iSpy) (-1, Troll)

jonfr (888673) | more than 3 years ago | (#33550364)

In this news on slashdot.org are many, many good reasons for not buying or using iPhone or iSpy as it shall be called from today.

It is also illegal when your electronics spy on you. So in fact apple software breaks the law by taking a screen shot of the map application and storing it.

Re:More good resons for not buying a iPhone (iSpy) (1)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 3 years ago | (#33550388)

It is also illegal when your electronics spy on you.

This is an interesting idea, where do you get that from? Some places have anti-spyware laws, but AFAIK taking a screenshot to make drawing faster when the app opens again is not covered under that. Nor should it be.

Re:More good resons for not buying a iPhone (iSpy) (1)

ryanov (193048) | more than 3 years ago | (#33550422)

A good question would be if this screenshot is overwritten every time or if a new one is written every time the program is closed. The latter would make no sense, and the former would make it nearly useless to authorities.

Re:More good resons for not buying a iPhone (iSpy) (1)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 3 years ago | (#33550582)

That is a good question; from reading the article, it seems like a lot of the data they are able to collect is because the file-system (and the tinySQL database that a lot of apps use) uses lazy deletion: it marks the items as deleted, but doesn't actually write over the bits until the space is needed. So you'd need special software to find that stuff.

Re:More good resons for not buying a iPhone (iSpy) (1, Interesting)

jonfr (888673) | more than 3 years ago | (#33550424)

European privacy laws. I know nothing about U.S privacy laws. But in all of EU and EEA member states this is in fact illegal. Countries outside EU and EEA might have different law (except Switzerland due to bilateral agreements with EU).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Directive_on_Privacy_and_Electronic_Communications [wikipedia.org]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Data_Protection_Directive [wikipedia.org]

Re:More good resons for not buying a iPhone (iSpy) (4, Insightful)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 3 years ago | (#33550564)

I'm not a lawyer, but as far as I can tell, those laws apply to remote data gathering, not storage on your own computing device. Otherwise every program that caches something would be illegal.

Re:More good resons for not buying a iPhone (iSpy) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33550954)

Umm, bollocks.

Re:More good resons for not buying a iPhone (iSpy) (1)

pixelpusher220 (529617) | more than 3 years ago | (#33550390)

the relevant question though, is does Android have similar 'features'?

Re:More good resons for not buying a iPhone (iSpy) (2, Informative)

acedotcom (998378) | more than 3 years ago | (#33550546)

one thing i have noticed is that google maps stores the voice cache right at the top of the SD card in its own folder. so anyone with an SD card reader can plug in your phone and listen to the voice prompts for your route. i am sure that it using the same kind of caching for screens....but you dont need to be a "hacker" to find the voice prompts.

Re:More good resons for not buying a iPhone (iSpy) (1)

blackomegax (807080) | more than 3 years ago | (#33551190)

I had fun with that once when i plugged my android phone into my car stereo via USB and mounted it to play mp3's.

Re:More good resons for not buying a iPhone (iSpy) (1)

bm_luethke (253362) | more than 3 years ago | (#33550570)

Iit will depend on the application, I assume the iPhone is the same way as it is fairly typical of devices with fairly limited resources.

There are life cycles of an android application, some of them (say loosing focus) means they tend to store states so that when you return to them they are where you left off. There are also state changes where the OS totally kills the application and nothing is saved - if you write for the Android platform you *must* assume under a heavy load this will occur. However it is rare. So for the most part they can probably get it but it isn't guaranteed. Nor do I know of any way to force a random application to do such a thing - you would most likely need to get the Android source and modify your own ROM. While possible it isn't likely and that behavior will break a number of applications as it isn't a normal application process life-cycle.

A more relevant question is there any device that doesn't leave similar types of trails? If you carry a recording device that monitors you location, your schedule, your e-mail, your search patterns, and a great deal of your life do not be surprised when law enforcement can get a hold of it.

Re:More good resons for not buying a iPhone (iSpy) (2, Informative)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | more than 3 years ago | (#33550530)

It is also illegal when your electronics spy on you. So in fact apple software breaks the law by taking a screen shot of the map application and storing it.

As far as I know, caching an image by the OS is not illegal in any jurisdiction. Taking an image and transmitting it to someone who is not the owner of the device, without their permission would be a problem in some jurisdictions. But then, that's not what anyone is claiming is happening.

failure (1)

lobf (1790198) | more than 3 years ago | (#33550398)

Hilariously, it seems like the purpose of the article is to make us feel safer.

Options to encrypt ones data? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33550416)

Besides the criminals cognitive abilities...
Since the can be tracked and so forth, especially if the operators save what celltower they have been using.

I would love to see a combination of passwordmaker's ( http://passwordmaker.org/ ) functionality and encfs ( http://www.arg0.net/encfs ) or the like.
Then one could still have 14033 for unlockning ones phone, with all data. And yes, that was my real password. All you have to do now is find me.
Clue, I has a N900.

Professional criminals (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33550430)

Professional criminals are professional because they're inherently paranoid. Every action is thought out well in advanced. If you're getting caught with evidence on your phone, well...you're not very professional at criminal activity now are you? Ahh, but the police and FBI will say otherwise just to garner how damn good they are.

Face it, no organization wants to admit there are criminal elements in the world that can and have never been caught. This is reality, not a Hollywood movie with ending in favor of the good guys.

Real criminals use pre-paid phones (1)

ap0 (587424) | more than 3 years ago | (#33550432)

Or at least ones with half a brain do. I'm not much of a criminal, but were I to become one, the last thing I'd use would be a smartphone. It's just not economical to toss in the garbage if you feel like you're being watched.

Re:Real criminals use pre-paid phones (1)

clone53421 (1310749) | more than 3 years ago | (#33550794)

And the rest of them are low-hanging fruit.

Re:Real criminals use pre-paid phones (2, Insightful)

SydShamino (547793) | more than 3 years ago | (#33550944)

The people that were smashing car windows in our neighborhood were seen, and followed running back to their house in our neighborhood.

In my opinion learning to not hit your own neighborhood where you'll be recognized and followed on foot to our house is the first, basic thing to learn as a new criminal. Apparently that's too much for some people. Planning ahead so far as to coordinate your efforts with a throw-away phone is several steps down that list.

Re:Real criminals use pre-paid phones (1)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 3 years ago | (#33551344)

The people that were smashing car windows in our neighborhood were seen, and followed running back to their house in our neighborhood.

Kids, right? I bet you live in a gated neighborhood too. Happens all the time in those kinds of places - teenagers commit crimes of convenience because they are bored and hormonal, not because of any really criminal intent. Funny thing, most gated neighborhoods actually have equal or even higher rates of crime because the kids are somewhat "locked in" and people are foolish enough to think the gates keep criminals out so they are often less attentive.

Mobile phones have always been trackable. (2)

0x25 (90552) | more than 3 years ago | (#33550448)

This is just making it even easier than it already was.

If it was really necessary, it is possible to triangulate the location of your phone by determining which towers your phone was communicating with.

If your phone has a location feature, you'll notice that when you try to disable it you will be presented with the options "Location On" or "911 Only". There doesn't seem to be any way to completely disable this feature. At least this is the case on Motorola and Blackberry phones.

If you are concerned about someone being able to track your location via your cell phone, the safest way to ensure it won't happen is to pull the battery.

Re:Mobile phones have always been trackable. (1)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | more than 3 years ago | (#33550584)

It's not that hard to disable, really. A propane torch applied to the antenna will do it. Ooops - you melted down all the rest of the phone, and the antenna is still pretty much intact? No problem - without the rest of the phone, the antenna isn't going to broadcast anything!

Re:Mobile phones have always been trackable. (1)

Nethead (1563) | more than 3 years ago | (#33550958)

Ya know we have nicer soldering irons than the one you got in your Tandy leather burning kit in 1965.

But yeah, you'd have better luck using the local 2m phone patch. Hell, I still hear an old IMTS mobile phone system still on the air in my area (hacked it back in the 80s with a tube final phone.) Let's see them trace that sucker!

Re:Mobile phones have always been trackable. (1)

0x25 (90552) | more than 3 years ago | (#33550968)

Ah, yes. Phones with antenna's; I have such fond memories. I had a Blackberry 7520 up until last year. It was a Nextel/Mike phone. I was afraid I was going to get charged with manslaughter because one of the girls who worked at the cafe I was at almost died from laughter when she saw the phone.

There's always the old saying - "With enough TNT, you can solve any problem."

Re:Mobile phones have always been trackable. (1)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | more than 3 years ago | (#33551000)

Google "iphone antenna". To my knowledge, every telephone in the world either has an antenna, or a transmission wire. How do you transmit without an antenna or a wire? Whack yourself upside your blond head, dude.

Re:Mobile phones have always been trackable. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33550752)

Cable boxes are built on a "let's pretend we have an off button" mode, so physical unplugging is necessary to fix weirdness/freeze bugs. Wonder who is recording your pr0n payperview habits there --but that's offtopic right now :). Some software/hardware is made to have obscure function calls cloning others but just without the "warn-user" bit. Don't fully trust your webcam's "presumably-always-on-during-capture LED" and believed-mandatory-for-public-privacy yet passcode-hackable camera shutter noise in your male friend's cellphone. The US police has used cellphones to catch organized crime gangs. Even when a phone is "off" it can eavesdrop and silently transmit conversation without any warning to us.

We mostly assume the NSA truely has backdoors on Windows in the US (what about other locations and even wiretapping competing countries?)... it's even easier to see how smart____-tech might become your worst nightware if you cross your government. New consumer technology is built upon a distrust-the-user [DVD-regions, TPM, Blueray, HDCP] phone-home (under the guise of "checking for fimware/software/hackedLicenseKeys updates") paradigm that thanks to ubiquitous access, can now REPORT the user. No wonder identity theft is up, especially if your watchers are in some countries also corrupt or hard to police when gone rogue. Think about those World Cup people whose data was misused, the iPad email-address leak and the facebook-bittorrent dumps recently happening and you'll find even less reason to touch things electronic.

Good thing I skipped that smartphone this year --my work blackberry watched me enough already, and I don't need even a personal government heartbeat thing. Man, so drab I'll just post AC.

in dubio pro reo (1)

drolli (522659) | more than 3 years ago | (#33550472)

instead of "checking if the suspect" is lying, how about "verifying what he says". Would sound nicer, especially taking into account that the screenshots were not originally designed for tracking persons.

All depends on what you want. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33550476)

I really thing there are two types of criminals. Those that are intelligent and plan out what they do, and for the most part try to avoid getting arrested because they can't take the battery out of their cell phone. And those that are high on crack and probably unaware of how a cell phone even works.

Gadgets are not trustworthy.. (4, Interesting)

xtal (49134) | more than 3 years ago | (#33550480)

Nobody would ever be clever enough to generate false data.. for an iAlibi? ..or clever enough to hack into and plant incriminating evidence? (not that there's ever been a security breach!)

Re:Gadgets are not trustworthy.. (1)

RajivSLK (398494) | more than 3 years ago | (#33550644)

That's true for almost all evidence... Nobody would be clever enough to plant DNA evidence? or hair strands. So I guess we should just do away with all evidence then...

Re:Gadgets are not trustworthy.. (1)

FranTaylor (164577) | more than 3 years ago | (#33550826)

Digital data is TRIVIAL to fake, with the right software it's even easier than that.

Physical evidence is MUCH harder to fake

read above post about smart criminals

Stupid Criminals (1)

whisper_jeff (680366) | more than 3 years ago | (#33550486)

If you're a criminal and you're using a cell phone or, especially, a smart phone to conduct your criminal activities, you deserve what you get. Stupidity often solves a lot of problems that way.

WTF? (2, Informative)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | more than 3 years ago | (#33550544)

Just WTF is a "former hacker"? That's like a "former scientist" or a "former student" or - - I suppose if you accept "hacking" to mean "criminal cretin living in his mother's basement breaks into email accounts and spreads bots around the internt" - then someone COULD be a "former hacker". A real hacker never stops hacking. It's more than a way of life - it's a way of thinking!

Re:WTF? (2, Insightful)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 3 years ago | (#33550804)

The meanings of words change, deal with it. In popular usage, hacker means someone who does illegal things with computers. I don't care if that wasn't what it was supposed to me, that is what it means. You have to deal with that in terms of common usage.

Some other examples would be interference or acceleration. In the scientific context, interference just means something that changes a system. There is no positive or negative to it. However in popular usage, interference means messing with something to cause a bad result. Likewise acceleration is the process of changing speed or direction. You accelerate to a stop, or in a turn. However in popular usage it means to go faster, you decelerate to a stop.

It is silly to get all overly pedantic about it because it accomplishes nothing. You have to accept that languages are living things, and usages change.

Re:WTF? (1)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | more than 3 years ago | (#33550970)

Nope. People are still hacking the Linux kernel - including Linux Thorvalds. Hacking in the "popular" context is just so much mindless drivel - much like most of the entertainment from Hollyweird. Oh yeah - that's where the "popular" definition came from - HOLLYWEIRD!!

Re:WTF? (1)

Urkki (668283) | more than 3 years ago | (#33551226)

Nope. People are still hacking the Linux kernel - including Linux Thorvalds.

I sure hope not... Wouldn't that be illegal ;-)

But seriously, doing "standard" software development work isn't "hacking" as far as I'm concerned. A hack is by it's nature something ad-hoc, usually non-general, a quick (and preferably brilliant) solution to a particular problem. I sure hope that does not describe how Linux kernel is developed these days... :-)

Re:WTF? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33551008)

It is silly to get all overly pedantic about it because it accomplishes nothing. You have to accept that languages are living things, and usages change.

Will you accept that he can do all he wants to change it back, then?

Re:WTF? (1)

Urkki (668283) | more than 3 years ago | (#33551240)

It is silly to get all overly pedantic about it because it accomplishes nothing. You have to accept that languages are living things, and usages change.

Will you accept that he can do all he wants to change it back, then?

It'd be better if he just kept on hacking (in the meaning of the word he prefers), rather than fight windmills.

(It's a well know fact that people can't do two things at the same time, so doing both is clearly not an option ;-)

Re:WTF? (1)

Ihmhi (1206036) | more than 3 years ago | (#33551300)

I don't know if I agree with that, though.

I can understand additional definitions being added if a word acquires them through use of slang (i.e. "bad" equating to "good" is a prevalent example). However, the scholarly side of me has issues with a different definition supplanting the original meaning of the world, especially when it's tied to another language literal meaning. For example, the word "decimate" is sourced from the Latin word decimare, "to take the tenth part of anything". But nowadays, it's used more as if it meant "utterly and completely destroyed".

While I'm fine with the evolution of language, misuse of a word from its roots doesn't sit very well with me. 8|

Re:WTF? (1)

CyberDragon777 (1573387) | more than 3 years ago | (#33551450)

Duh, hackers are the evil criminals who steal data and make your computer stop working.

The guys working with the government and fighting the criminals are Cyber Warriors.

Presumed guilty (0, Troll)

John Q Dallas (1897006) | more than 3 years ago | (#33550552)

The fact that you do not use an iPhone will be presumed objective evidence that (not) doing so was to avoid getting caught. The rumor created here is that Google Earth goes live next year and all activity will be recorded. That's the kind of change we voted for - Hope not!

The iPhone is Not Your Friend (4, Interesting)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 3 years ago | (#33550978)

Your iPhone is clearly not your friend, and this isn't the only story about why today. It's the fink waiting to rat you out at the first opportunity. Go look up the new Safari html 5 database tracking that uniquely identifies you to advertisers. Until the phone comes with strong enough encryption to defeat this hacker in addition to remote wipe that truly wipes the phone, you shouldn't be sleeping too well at night, courtesy of Mr. Steve Jobs.

Maybe (-1, Troll)

kaoshin (110328) | more than 3 years ago | (#33551012)

While they are at it they can hack it to make it not suck?

jvaa (1)

jvaa (1899112) | more than 3 years ago | (#33551266)

Perhaps I misunderstand something here but wouldn't the 'locating data' only tell something about the whereabouts of the PHONE?

Police use criminal as a teacher (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33551562)

That is what TFA header should be

Zombie Flash cookies and going deep (3, Informative)

AHuxley (892839) | more than 3 years ago | (#33551580)

http://arstechnica.com/apple/news/2010/09/rldguid-tracking-cookies-in-safari-database-form.ars [arstechnica.com]
I wonder how many will soon be tracked via Flash-based cookies and deep stored history options.
The Safari database seems to be an open and safe way to track a user via a normal 'ad' after a site visit.
Stop giving state task forces and feds signals intelligence via a next generation of toys in your pocket.
Go simple and swap any used device out asap.
Try a collection of dumb devices with no networking or life long databases.
Recall the Malcolm X script... "Don't never write nothing down ....
Cause if they can't find no [iphone] they ain't got no proof..."
The serial numbers, hidden databases, location services ect, almost makes you think someone really put thought into tracking.
Any ex CIA director's investment banks seed money linked to funding this stuff?
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