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Shhhhhhh, Your iPhone is Watching Your Every Move

A recent diagnostic has determined that everything you do on your iPhone is temporarily stored as a screenshot, and can eventually be recovered.

According to iPhone hacker and data-forensics expert, Jonathan Zdziarski, iPhones capture screenshots of your most recent activity, no matter what it may be, in order to cache it. Every time the home button is pressed, the window of the last used application shrinks and disappears. In order to create this effect, the device snaps a screenshot.

While the device is presumed to delete these images after an application is closed, Zdziarski advocates that anyone who understands data, is aware that just because a screenshot is deleted does not mean that these files are permanently removed. Thus, forensic experts have utilized this to gather evidence against criminals and convicted felons. Sounds a bit scary huh?

“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.”

Despite the fact that these screenshots are captured only when the user presses the home button, Zdziarski notes that this is only one of several ways that evidence can be collected. Other ways of obtaining information include nabbing data from the keyboard cache, Safari cache, Google Map inputs…etc.

Zdziarski aslo noted the steps that can be taken to gain full access to an iPhone through bypassing the device’s passcode. “To make a long story short, the process involved using Pwnage to create a custom firmware bundle and tweaking it with rather arcane methods to delete the iPhone’s passcode protection. Once set up, the technique can be used over and over on different iPhones, Zdziarski added.”

This isn’t the first time that pretty scary and controversial issues have come up surrounding the iPhone’s home button. Back on August 27th a major security flaw was exposed where a malicious user could access an iPhone’s sensitive information, by double clicking the home button from anywhere. Luckily, at the Let’s Rock Media Event Apple CEO Steve Jobs promised a major iPhone Software Update and yesterday, it landed. One of the fixes delivered was was a patch to the security flaw just explained.

[via Wired]

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