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Apple iPhone takes screenshots of everything you do

Posted on Tuesday, September 16 2008 @ 01:25:29 CEST by

Security expert Jonathan Zdziarski found a serious privacy leak and security flaw in Apple's iPhone. He discovered that the devices automatically takes screenshots of everything you do, Zdziarski explains the iPhone does this in order to create a shrinking window effect when an iPhone user taps the Home button. These screenshots are deleted after you close the application but it shouldn't be too hard to recover the data:
Jonathan_zdziarski_2 While demonstrating how to break the iPhone's passcode lock in a webcast, iPhone hacker and data-forensics expert Jonathan Zdziarski explained that the popular handset snaps a screenshot of your most recent action -- regardless of whether it's sending a text message, e-mailing or browsing a web page -- in order to cache it. This is purely for aesthetic purposes: When an iPhone user taps the Home button, the window of the application you have open shrinks and disappears. In order to create that shrinking effect, the iPhone snaps a screenshot, Zdziarski said.

The phone presumably deletes the image after you close the application. But anyone who understands data is aware that in most cases, deletion does not permanently remove files from a storage device. Therefore, forensics experts have used this security flaw to gather evidence against criminals convicted of rape, murder or drug deals, Zdziarski said.

"There's no way to prevent it," Zdziarski said during the webcast. "I'm kind of divided on it. I hope Apple fixes it because it's a significant privacy leak, but at the same time it's been useful for investigating criminals."

And though the handset only snaps screenshots when users press the Home button, Zdziarski said this is only one way forensics experts collect evidence. Other methods include taking data from the iPhone's keyboard cache, Safari cache, Google Maps lookups and so on. Experts and hackers can also recover deleted photos or e-mails from months ago.
More info at Wired.



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