Greg's bite: Apple iNSECURE for business use
TweetFollow Us on Twitter

Greg's bite: Apple iNSECURE for business use

By Greg Mills

This is important news, Apple Mac, iPhone and iPad are not suitable for business use.

While Apple has been pushing for respect from the business community due to increased security features found on Mac computers, iPhone and iPad, it seems they were at the same time secretly gathering location data from unsuspecting users. Apple intentionally created a permanent cache on iPhones and iPad that records its users locations with date stamps.  

This cache is persistently and insecurely backed up on the computer used to sync with the iOS device. This makes both iOS devices absolutely unsuitable for business use due to "location record insecurity."   

On Thursday, CNN broke the story on network TV regarding the surprising intentional insecurity of the Apple infrastructure regarding stored location information. This data was gathered without users opting in and without any way to opt out. The disclosure regarding "location services" found in the iTunes agreement you must agree with to load the software is completely inadequate to inform Apple devices what Apple actually intends to do.

"Apple and our partners and licensees may collect, use, and share precise location data, including the real-time geographic location of your Apple computer or device. This location data is collected anonymously in a form that does not personally identify you and is used by Apple and our partners and licensees to provide and improve location-based products and services. For example, we may share geographic location with application providers when you opt in to their location services."

I suggest some additional information they ought to added to the iTunes disclosure:

APPLE intends to track the detailed movements of your iPhone and iPad for our own business purposes using any means at our disposal, GPS, tower locations, WiFi signals or any combination of thereof and make a permanent record of your movements with location time stamped files stored in both the iOS Device and backup that detailed location record on your computer. We will upload that data regularly, at our discretion, to our servers and you will never know we are doing it. Apple doesn't plan to identify you from the location records we upload, but should your computer be lost or stolen your detailed location records and identity will be fully accessible to the thief or who ever finds your Apple device. Further, should someone have physical access to your computer for a little as five minutes they could copy the "Backups" file in your system library and use that file to compromise your detailed and time stamped location data, from the first day you used the device. Apple iOS devices are an open book to computer forensic experts and you may not encrypt or use passwords to make your devices meaningfully secure. Apple will not guarantee that hackers might not be able to remotely gain access to your computer and compromise your location and identity information.  

I am of the opinion a class action lawsuit naming Apple for violation of privacy laws, breech of contract and damages is in absolutely in order. I will personally join as a plaintiff.

Inherent in the iTunes app is programing that automatically sucks location data out of iPhones and iPads when synced to a computer. In Macs the system stores the location data at: Users/Library/Application Support/MobileSync/Backups/ . The data is very specific and time coded. If you have your iPhone or iPad GPS on all the time, there are records of your every move since you loaded iOS 4.0 or turned the device on for the first time.  

This is not an accident. Reports giving Apple the benefit of the doubt that this is not an intentional act are uneducated and don't understand the sophistication of Apple's engineers. Let there be no mistake: Apple did this on purpose for selfish monetary gain.  

Even with locations services turned off, your iOS devices were still tracking you and still reporting back regularly to Apple. This is clearly without adequate notification or permission of the purchasers of the Apple devices.  

Businesses should certainly consider this intentional breech of user security seriously before buying Mac computers, iPhones and iPads. How long does it take to wake up a sleeping MacBook, insert a blank CD, open the hard drive, select the home file, go to Library/Application Support/MobileSync/Backups, drag and drop the Backups file to the CD logo, select "burn disk"? In less than five minutes you have copied the entire location data files for all the iPhones and iPads that ever sync with that computer.

Next, insert the CD into another Mac and then drag and drop the Backups file into the Mobile Sync file of that Mac. Then run the "iPhoneTracker.app and a map pops up divulging the detailed location tracking information of the person you stole the data from.  http://petewarden.github.com/iPhoneTracker/ . Actually, the map is just the conglomeration of all the data. The exact GPS and time stamp can also be accessed with the Backups file.

"So what?" you may ask. Imagine I am dressed as a plumber, but I am really working as an industrial spy for Google. I gain entry to Steve Jobs' hotel room and spot his MacBook Pro sitting on the bedside table. In less than five minutes I am out the door with a detailed location record of Mr. Jobs' travel over the last year on a CD. I can then figure out every place of business he went for the previous year, where he lives, eats out  and most worrisome, deduce which other businesses he was doing business with. Google might thus gain insight into Apple's business plans. 

In another scenario, I am the top salesman for a company with serious competition in my industry. The competitors would dearly love to develop a complete list of my clients. They send in a spy as above and gather the Backups file from the salesman's Apple computer and then use that detailed location information to develop a list of his clients. What company would like to see that happen?

Apples devices are sold all over the world. What if a Chinese dissident was caught with an iPhone? What about other legal backwater jurisdictions in the world where police can search a smartphone without a warrant, such as Libya, Saudi Arabia, the Ninth US Circuit Court District, (which includes California, Oregon, Washington State, Alaska, Arizona, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana and Nevada). To get location information in those privacy deprived places police upon their discretion can copy the entire contents of a smartphone without a warrant or probable cause.  This does not exclude business owned smartphones or iPads.  

That is a problem I call "location insecurity." No business will want to risk that sort of private information getting into the hands of the competition. Apple has just shot itself in the foot in gaining traction in the enterprise market. I strongly advise business users to carefully consider Apple's apparent disregard for location security when making the decision to support iPad and iPhones for business use. These devices are location insecure. 

Apple has violated my trust and I am angry about it. I had a conversation with an Apple Genius at my local Apple store yesterday. I told him who I was and he was aware of MacNews. He told me that even Apple Geniuses were unaware that Apple was storing detailed location services on iOS devices and that he understood my anger and frustration with Apple's behavior. He advised me to email the software engineers who were directly involved with the iOS platform.   

I suggest that a flood of angry email from users and especially iOS developers expressing anger regarding this breech of our trust, that might move Apple to fix the problem quickly.  Go to and tell them what you think.

Trust is earned and betrayal is also earned. I suggest that to restore my trust Apple take the following steps:

1. Admit they were intentionally tracking iOS device owners for Apples location based advertising plans or other selfish purpose without adequate notification to consumers or providing a viable ability to opt out.

2. Quickly provide software updates that will allow users to completely remove all location files on both iOS and Mac devices.

3. Provide information regarding "location files" hidden on computers.

4. Provide a GPS logo in the home screen of iPhones and iPads indicating GPS/Locations services are on

5. Publicly state that Apple will never track its customers again without explicated permission in the future.

Today's Greg's Bite is out of the big Apple

(Greg Mills is currently a graphic and Faux Wall Artist in Kansas City. Formerly a new product R&D man for the paint sundry market, he holds 11 US patents. Greg is an Extra Class Ham Radio Operator, AB6SF, iOS developer and web site designer. He's also working on a solar energy startup using a patent pending process for turning waste dual pane glass window units into thermal solar panels used to heat water see: www.CottageIndustySolar.com Married, with one daughter, Greg writes for intellectual property web sites and on Mac/Tech related issues. See Greg's art web site at http://www.gregmills.info He can be emailed at gregmills@mac.com )

 

Community Search:
MacTech Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

Skype 7.5.0.738 - Voice-over-internet ph...
Skype allows you to talk to friends, family and co-workers across the Internet without the inconvenience of long distance telephone charges. Using peer-to-peer data transmission technology, Skype... Read more
PushPal 3.0 - Mirror Android notificatio...
PushPal is a client for Pushbullet, which automatically shows you all of your phone's notifications right on your computer. This means you can see who's calling or read text messages even if your... Read more
Logic Pro X 10.1.1 - Music creation and...
Apple Logic Pro X is the most advanced version of Logic ever. Sophisticated new tools for professional songwriting, editing, and mixing are built around a modern interface that's designed to get... Read more
VLC Media Player 2.2.0 - Popular multime...
VLC Media Player is a highly portable multimedia player for various audio and video formats (MPEG-1, MPEG-2, MPEG-4, DivX, MP3, OGG, ...) as well as DVDs, VCDs, and various streaming protocols. It... Read more
Sound Studio 4.7.8 - Robust audio record...
Sound Studio lets you easily record and professionally edit audio on your Mac. Easily rip vinyls and digitize cassette tapes, or record lectures and voice memos. Prepare for live shows with live... Read more
LibreOffice 4.4.1.2 - Free, open-source...
LibreOffice is an office suite (word processor, spreadsheet, presentations, drawing tool) compatible with other major office suites. The Document Foundation is coordinating development and... Read more
VueScan 9.5.03 - Scanner software with a...
VueScan is a scanning program that works with most high-quality flatbed and film scanners to produce scans that have excellent color fidelity and color balance. VueScan is easy to use, and has... Read more
Freeway Pro 7.0.3 - Drag-and-drop Web de...
Freeway Pro lets you build websites with speed and precision... without writing a line of code! With its user-oriented drag-and-drop interface, Freeway Pro helps you piece together the website of... Read more
Cloud 3.3.0 - File sharing from your men...
Cloud is simple file sharing for the Mac. Drag a file from your Mac to the CloudApp icon in the menubar and we take care of the rest. A link to the file will automatically be copied to your clipboard... Read more
Cyberduck 4.6.5 - FTP and SFTP browser....
Cyberduck is a robust FTP/FTP-TLS/SFTP browser for the Mac whose lack of visual clutter and cleverly intuitive features make it easy to use. Support for external editors and system technologies such... Read more

Get The Whole Story – Lone Wolf Complete...
Get The Whole Story – Lone Wolf Complete is Now Available and On Sale Posted by Jessica Fisher on February 27th, 2015 [ permalink ] Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad | Read more »
Who Wore it Best? The Counting Dead vs....
Like it or not, the “clicker” genre, popularized by cute distractions like Candy Box and Cookie Clicker, seems like it’s here to stay. So Who Wore it Best? takes a look at two recent examples: The Counting Dead and AdVenture Capitalist. | Read more »
Card Crawl, the Mini Deck Building Game,...
Card Crawl, the Mini Deck Building Game, is Coming Soon Posted by Jessica Fisher on February 27th, 2015 [ permalink ] Tinytouchtales and Mexer have announced their new game, | Read more »
Witness an all new puzzle mechanic in Bl...
Well, BlastBall MAX is not one of those games and is bucking trends such as timers, elements of randomness, and tacked-on mechanics in favor of pure puzzle gameplay. When you first boot up the game you’ll see a grid made up of squares that are each... | Read more »
This Princess Has a Dragon and She isn’t...
This Princess Has a Dragon and She isn’t Afraid to Useit. | Read more »
Mecha Showdown Review
Mecha Showdown Review By Lee Hamlet on February 27th, 2015 Our Rating: :: IN A SPINUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Mecha Showdown replaces traditional buttons with a slot machine mechanic in this robot fighting game,... | Read more »
Reliance Games and Dreamworks Unveil Rea...
Reliance Games and Dreamworks Unveil Real Steel Champions Posted by Ellis Spice on February 27th, 2015 [ permalink ] Reliance Games and Dreamworks have announced that a third game in | Read more »
Sum Idea Review
Sum Idea Review By Jennifer Allen on February 27th, 2015 Our Rating: :: TAXING NUMBERSUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Sum Idea is a fairly charming but taxing puzzle game.   | Read more »
A New Badland Update Brings Daydream Lev...
A New Badland Update Brings Daydream Levels to Co-Op Posted by Ellis Spice on February 27th, 2015 [ permalink ] Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad | Read more »
Slashing Demons Review
Slashing Demons Review By Lee Hamlet on February 27th, 2015 Our Rating: :: IT'S A LONG WAY TO THE TOPUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Slashing Demons lacks the depth or scope to take it beyond the point of being just... | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

Apple Launches Free Web-Based Pages and Other...
Apple’s new Web-only access to iWork productivity apps is a free level of iCloud service available to anyone, including people who don’t own or use Apple devices. The service includes access to Apple... Read more
Survey Reveals Solid State Disk (SSD) Technol...
In a recent SSD technology use survey, Kroll Ontrack, a firm specializing in data recovery, found that while nearly 90 percent of respondents leverage the performance and reliability benefits of SSD... Read more
Save up to $600 with Apple refurbished Mac Pr...
The Apple Store is offering Apple Certified Refurbished Mac Pros for up to $600 off the cost of new models. An Apple one-year warranty is included with each Mac Pro, and shipping is free. The... Read more
Updated Mac Price Trackers
We’ve updated our Mac Price Trackers with the latest information on prices, bundles, and availability on systems from Apple’s authorized internet/catalog resellers: - 15″ MacBook Pros - 13″ MacBook... Read more
Apple CEO Tim Cook to Deliver 2015 George Was...
Apple CEO Tim Cook will deliver the George Washington University’s Commencement address to GWU grads on May 17, at which time he will also be awarded an honorary doctorate of public service from the... Read more
Apple restocks refurbished Mac minis for up t...
The Apple Store has restocked Apple Certified Refurbished 2014 Mac minis, with models available starting at $419. Apple’s one-year warranty is included with each mini, and shipping is free: - 1.4GHz... Read more
Save up to $50 on iPad Air 2s, NY tax only, f...
 B&H Photo has iPad Air 2s on sale for $50 off MSRP including free shipping plus NY sales tax only: - 16GB iPad Air 2 WiFi: $469.99 $30 off - 64GB iPad Air 2 WiFi: $549 $50 off - 128GB iPad Air 2... Read more
16GB iPad Air 2 on sale for $447, save $52
Walmart has the 16GB iPad Air 2 WiFi on sale for $446.99 on their online store for a limited time. Choose free shipping or free local store pickup (if available). Sale price for online orders only,... Read more
iMacs on sale for up to $205 off MSRP
B&H Photo has 21″ and 27″ iMacs on sale for up to $205 off MSRP including free shipping plus NY sales tax only: - 21″ 1.4GHz iMac: $1029 $70 off - 21″ 2.7GHz iMac: $1199 $100 off - 21″ 2.9GHz... Read more
Apple Takes 89 Percent Share of Global Smartp...
According to the latest research from Strategy Analytics, global smartphone operating profit reached US$21 billion in Q4 2014. The Android operating system captured a record-low 11 percent global... Read more

Jobs Board

Sr. Technical Services Consultant, *Apple*...
**Job Summary** Apple Professional Services (APS) has an opening for a senior technical position that contributes to Apple 's efforts for strategic and transactional Read more
Event Director, *Apple* Retail Marketing -...
…This senior level position is responsible for leading and imagining the Apple Retail Team's global engagement strategy and team. Delivering an overarching brand Read more
*Apple* Pay - Site Reliability Engineer - Ap...
**Job Summary** Imagine what you could do here. At Apple , great ideas have a way of becoming great products, services, and customer experiences very quickly. Bring Read more
*Apple* Solutions Consultant - Retail Sales...
**Job Summary** The ASC is an Apple employee who serves as an Apple brand ambassador and influencer in a Reseller's store. The ASC's role is to grow Apple Read more
*Apple* Solutions Consultant - Retail Sales...
**Job Summary** As an Apple Solutions Consultant (ASC) you are the link between our customers and our products. Your role is to drive the Apple business in a retail Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.